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July 16

Saint of the day:
Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

The Story of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Hermits lived on Mount Carmel near the Fountain of Elijah in northern Israel in the 12th century. They had a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. By the 13th century they became known as “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” They soon celebrated a special Mass and Office in honor of Mary. In 1726, it became a celebration of the universal Church under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For centuries the Carmelites have seen themselves as specially related to Mary. Their great saints and theologians have promoted devotion to her and often championed the mystery of her Immaculate Conception.

Saint Teresa of Avila called Carmel “the Order of the Virgin.” Saint John of the Cross credited Mary with saving him from drowning as a child, leading him to Carmel, and helping him escape from prison. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus believed that Mary cured her from illness. On her First Communion day, Thérèse dedicated her life to Mary. During the last days of her life she frequently spoke of Mary.

There is a tradition–which may not be historical—that Mary appeared to Saint Simon Stock, a leader of the Carmelites, and gave him a scapular, telling him to promote devotion to it. The scapular is a modified version of Mary’s own garment. It symbolizes her special protection and calls the wearers to consecrate themselves to her in a special way. The scapular reminds us of the gospel call to prayer and penance—a call that Mary models in a splendid way.



Novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (July 16th)

To be prayed 7 to 15 July or at other times of the year



The solemn liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was probably first celebrated in England in the later part of the 14th century.

Its object was thanksgiving to Mary, the patroness of the Carmelite Order, for the benefits she had accorded to it through its difficult early years. The institution of the feast may have come in the wake of the vindication of their title "Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary" at Cambridge, England in 1374. The date chosen was 17 July; on the European mainland this date conflicted with the feast of St. Alexis,

requiring a shift to 16 July, which remains the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel throughout the Catholic Church.

The Latin poem "Flos Carmeli" (meaning "Flower of Carmel") first appears as the sequence for this Mass.




Santa Maria in Traspontina

(Our Lady in Traspontina)

Via della Conciliazione 14

Rome, Italy

*This church is near the Vatican.

*The third chapel on the right side of the nave contains a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. A memorial at this chapel recalls the new scapular that this church gifted to St John Paul II after the assassination attempt upon his life in 1981.


Santa Maria della Vittoria

(Our Lady of the Victory)

Via XX Settembre 17

                                  Rome, Italy                                        

*This church is north of Piazza della Repubblica.

*A marble statue within the third chapel on the right side of the nave depicts St Simon Stock receiving the scapular from the Blessed Virgin Mary.

*Also located in this church is Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s famous sculpture entitled The Ecstasy of St Teresa.


San Martino ai Monti

(Saint Martin at the Hills)

Viale Monte Oppio 28

Rome, Italy

*This church is south of the Basilica of St Mary Major. The chapel to the left of the main sanctuary honors Our Lady of Mt Carmel.

*The greater part of the remains of St Martin I (d. 655) were transferred from Crimea to this church in Rome. They now rest in the confessio below the main altar. This confessio also houses the relics of many other saints taken from the Catacombs of Priscilla.


Santa Maria della Scala

(Our Lady of the Staircase)

Piazza della Scala 23

Rome, Italy

*This church is located in Trastevere.

*The first chapel on the left side of the nave is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

*The right foot of St Teresa of Avila (d. 1582) rests within a beautiful chapel to the left of the main sanctuary. It was gifted to this church in 1617. (This chapel is not visible from the nave of the church and it is rarely open to the public.  However, if one kindly asks the sacristan access may be granted. If the sacristan is not present he or she can be called at the neighboring convent door.)



Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church
Chicago, IL


New York (State) Shrine:

The Convent of Saint Joseph in Ávila (Spain)
was the first foundation of the Discalced Carmelites

Mount Carmel, Northern Israel


Above the entrance is the seal of the Carmelites.  On the top side of the  symbol is a sword that is held by the arm of Elijah, stretching out from a crown, and a Latin Biblical text  (1 Kings 19:10): "...I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts".

A small pyramid-shaped memorial stone, with an iron cross on top of it, reads a Biblical text in Latin:  (2 Samuel 1: 27) "How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!". It was erected in memory of the 200 French soldiers that were butchered here in 1799 by the Ottomans. Their bones were later collected (1804)  and buried in the garden (1827), under the stone.

The floor before the church is seen in the photo below: "Ave Maris Stella".



A Catholic religious order was founded on Mount Carmel in the 12th century, named the Carmelites, in reference to the mountain range; the founder of the Carmelites is unknown; in the original Rule or 'Letter of Life' given by Albert, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem who was resident in Acre, around the year 1210 this hermit is referred to simply as 'Brother B'; he probably died around the date 1210 and could have been either a pilgrim, someone serving out a penance or a crusader who had stayed in the Holy Land. The Order was founded at the site that it claimed had been the location of Elijah's cave, 1,700 feet (520 m) above sea level at the northwestern end of the mountain range; this, perhaps not coincidentally, is also the highest natural point of the mountain range. Though there is no documentary evidence to support it, Carmelite tradition suggests that a community of Jewish hermits had lived at the site from the time of Elijah until the Carmelites were founded there; prefixed to the Carmelite Constitution of 1281 was the claim that from the time when Elijah and Elisha had dwelt devoutly on Mount Carmel, priests and prophets, Jewish and Christian, had lived "praiseworthy lives in holy penitence" adjacent to the site of the "fountain of Elisha" in an uninterrupted succession.

A Carmelite monastery was founded at the site shortly after the Order itself was created, and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of "Star of the Sea" ("stella maris" in Latin), a common medieval presentation of her. Although Louis IX of France is sometimes named as the founder, he was not, and had merely visited it in 1252. The Carmelite Order grew to be one of the major Catholic religious orders worldwide, although the monastery at Carmel has had a less successful history. During the Crusades the monastery often changed hands, frequently being converted into a mosque; under Islamic control the location came to be known as "El-Maharrakah", meaning "place of burning", in reference to the account of Elijah's challenge to the priests of Hadad. In 1799 the building was finally converted into a hospital, by Napoleon, but in 1821 the surviving structure was destroyed by the pasha of Damascus. A new monastery was later constructed directly over a nearby cave, after funds were collected by the Carmelite Order for restoration of the monastery. The cave, which now forms the crypt of the monastic church, is termed "Elijah's grotto" by the Discalced Carmelite friars who have custody of the monastery.

One of the oldest scapulars is associated with Mount Carmel and the Carmelites. According to Carmelite tradition, the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was first given to St. Simon Stock, an English Carmelite, by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Carmelites refer to her under the title "Our Lady of Mount Carmel," and celebrate 16 July as her feast day.

Habit and Scapular


In 1287, the original way of life of the order was changed to conform to that of the mendicant orders on the initiative of St. Simon Stock and at the command of Pope Innocent IV. Their former habit of a mantle with black and white or brown and white stripes—the black or brown stripes representing the scorches the mantle of Elijah received from the fiery chariot as it fell from his shoulders—was discarded. They wore the same habit as the Dominicans, except that the cloak was white. They also borrowed much from the Dominican and Franciscan constitutions. Their distinctive garment was a scapular of two strips of dark cloth, worn on the breast and back, and fastened at the shoulders. Tradition holds that this was given to St. Simon Stock by the Blessed Virgin Mary, who appeared to him and promised that all who wore it with faith and piety and who died clothed in it would be saved. There arose a sodality of the scapular, which affiliated a large number of laymen with the Carmelites.

A miniature version of the Carmelite scapular is popular among Roman Catholics and is one of the most popular devotions in the Church. Wearers usually believe that if they faithfully wear the Carmelite scapular (also called "the brown scapular" or simply "the scapular") and die in a state of grace, they will be saved from eternal damnation. Catholics who decide to wear the scapular are usually enrolled by a priest, and some choose to enter the Scapular Confraternity. The Lay Carmelites of the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel wear a scapular which is smaller than the shortened scapular worn by some Carmelite religious for sleeping, but still larger than the devotional scapulars.








Salve Regina

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