Mt. Carmel is located north of Jerusalem along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a wellknown mountainous ridge in Palestine which is covered with caves. Hermits lived in the caves, living a life of solitude and prayer. Mt. Carmel is mentioned in the Old Testament many times.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is celebrated by the Catholic Church on July 16. It is on this day in about 1386 that Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock. She gave him a Brown Scapular saying, “Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire.” The scapular symbolizes Mary’s protection and reminds those wearing it of the call to prayer and penance.
A chapel was built near the Fountain of Elijah (northern Israel) which was dedicated to Our Lady. The hermits living there became known as the “Brothers of Mount Carmel”. St. Simon Stock was a leader of the Carmelite Order. The Carmelites have a special devotion to Mary. Their saints and theologians have a special devotion to her and the mystery of the Immaculate Conception (the belief that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin). St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Terese of Lisieux are well known Carmelite saints.
The Carmelites history dates back to ancient times. It is believed to have been founded by the prophets Elijah and Elisha. The Carmelite Order is a contemplative order. Their spirituality follows the contemplative spirit of Elijah, living a spiritual life of contemplation and prayer. One of their goals is to “find God in the silence’. The rule of the Carmelites was written by St. Albert Avogadro in 1214.
The feast celebrates the devotion of those who are devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and wear the Brown Scapular.
Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Bl. Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity, O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.
O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this my necessity. There are none that can withstand your power. O show me herein that you are my Mother,
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us that have recourse to thee (3 times)
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (3 times)
The Apparition of Our Lady of Mt, Carmel was approved by Pope Sixtus V in 1587.