The feast day of St. Simon Stock is celebrated on May 16.
Little is known about the early life of St. Simon Stock. Legend has told us that from the age of twelve he lived as a hermit in a hollow tree trunk. As a young man he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There, he joined a group of Carmelites. They returned together to Europe.
St. Simon was elected Superior General of his Order in London in 1254. St. Simon founded many Carmelite Communities in Cambridge, Oxford, Paris and Bologna. He was instrumental in the transition from a hermit Order to an Order of mendicant friars.
In 1251 he experienced an apparition during a time when the order was being oppressed. The Virgin Mary appeared to him holding the brown scapular in one hand. She told him,
“Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is a special sign of my favor which I have obtained for thee and thy children of Mt. Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger and a pledge of special peace and protection.”
The scapular is made of two squares of cloth connected by strings. It is worn over the shoulders, one on the chest, one on the back.
The promise from the Virgin Mary is believed to mean that Carmelites who live their vocation well, with love and sincerity will be saved. It is a reminder that Mary is their role model in love. The Carmelite Order is a contemplative Order which focuses on contemplative prayer. Mary leads those in the Carmelite Order to a deeper love of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist and the Beatitudes. The role models for the Carmelite Order are the Virgin Mary and the prophet Elijah. It was Elijah who heard the voice of God in the whisper of the gentle breeze.
St. Simon Stock was known to have a special gift of miracles and prophecy. St. Simon Stock. died on July 16, 1265 in Bordeaux, France.
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pain.
It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
Quote of C.S. Lewis
May is the Month of Mary.