by Adam Kossowski at Aylesford Priory in Kent
The Sacred Scriptures speak of the the beauty of Mount Carmel in Palestine where the Prophet Elijah defended the faith of Israel in the living God. There, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, under the title of "Saint Mary of Mount Carmel", the Order of Carmelites had its formal beginning with a community of hermits. Mary was revered on Carmel as "The Lady of the Place", and she came to be regarded as "Patron of the Order", and "Sister of Carmelites".
From the fourteenth century this title - The Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel - recalling the countless blessings of the Order's patron, began to be solemnly celebrated, first in England and then gradually throughout the whole Order.
The Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel attained its supreme place from the beginning of the seventeenth century when the Carmelite General Chapter declared it to be the principal feast of the Order, and Paul V recognised it as the feast of the Scapular Confraternity.
This feast is now celebrated across the whole Roman Catholic Church, in recognition of Mary as she is revered within the Carmelite tradition. In some countries it is a major festival and public holiday.
blessing the scapular of St. Simon Stock
you willed that the Order of Carmel
should be named in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of your Son.
Through her prayers as we honour her today
bring us to your holy Mountain,
Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.
The Virgin Mary surrounded by saints of Carmel,
in an icon written by the Carmelite nuns of Ravenna,
in York Carmelite Friary