Today is the Feast Day of St. Simon Stock
St. Simon Stock was born in Kent, England. He was strongly drawn to God as a child, and at the age of twelve he began to live as a hermit in the hollow of an oak tree. After two decades of this solitary and penitential life, he entered the world again to study theology and become a priest. His studies complete, he then returned to his hermitage. At this time the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him, instructing him to join the Carmelite Order that was just entering England. St. Simon became a Carmelite in 1212. By 1215 he became the order’s leader and worked to establish it across Europe, especially at the great universities. He also traveled to Rome and Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land, and revised the Carmelite Rule to make them mendicant friars instead of hermits.
Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon again and presented him with a brown scapular, the habit of his order, promising that those who wore it would not be eternally lost in hell. This apparition is known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and her “scapular promise” is that she will intercede with her Son to ensure that the wearer of the scapular obtains the grace of final perseverance, that is, of dying in a state of grace. This is the origin of the Brown Scapular devotion which soon spread to the laity to obtain the graces promised by Our Lady, a devotion later encouraged by many popes.
Receive, my beloved son, this Scapular of thy Order. It shall be a special sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.
– Our Lady’s Scapular Promise
St. Simon Stock, humble hermit and Carmelite Friar, pray for us.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family pray for us. Amen.