Celebrating Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Please take a moment and view the beautiful new statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel mounted on the wall at the base of the stairs leading to the lower chapel. Soon, the lower chapel will be officially dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and I pray will be a wonderful source of strength for those who dedicate themselves to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Order of Carmelites takes its name from Mount Carmel in Israel, which was the first place dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and where a chapel was erected in her honor before Her Assumption into heaven. Saint Simon Stock entered the Carmelite Order when he was 40 years old. He was sent to Mount Carmel in the Holy Land where he led a life of prayer and penance until he and most of the religious order were forced to leave by the victorious infidels. The group set sail for England where later St Simon was elected Prior General of the Carmelite Order.
Through his great Devotion to the Blessed Mother, the Carmelite Order began to prosper even under the great threat to Christianity at that time. In response to his appeal and prayers, the Blessed Mother appeared to S.t Simon holding a brown scapular in her hand saying: “Receive, my beloved son, this habit of thy order, this shall be to thee and all a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.” This was truly a great gift and a great promise from the Mother of God.
Until very recently, the brown scapular was one of the most widely used religious symbols of personal dedication to the mission of the Blessed Mother found in her last recorded words in the bible (John 2:5) However, the promotion and use of all Marian devotionals, including the Holy Rosary, has declined dramatically since the 1960's. Yet for more than 700 years, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been one of the most precious gifts and highly indulgenced sacramentals of our Church. It is more than that though, it is in reality a garment given to us by the Blessed Virgin which makes us her special children.
At Lourdes in 1858, the Blessed Mother chose to make her last apparition on July 16th, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the day the Church commemorated her apparitions to Saint Simon. And at Fatima on October 13, 1917, it is as Our Lady of Mount Carmel that Mary appeared when she said farewell to the three children. Throughout the ages, the Queen of Carmel has always kept a faithful watch over the destinies of her cherished children on earth.