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Article: May 16 + Saint Simon Stock

May 16 + Saint Simon Stock - VENXARA®

May 16 + Saint Simon Stock

If you wear a brown scapular, it's because of this Saint.

Simon Stock was a Carmelite monk whose vision of the Virgin Mary is the source of the Brown Scapular devotion.

Simon was born during 1165 in the English county of Kent. He was so strongly devoted to God from his youth that he left home at age 12 to live in the forest as a hermit. Legend holds that the name Stock, meaning "tree trunk," derives from the fact that he lived in a hollow tree trunk of an oak tree.

After two decades of solitary life in the wilderness, he returned to society to acquire an education in theology and become a priest. Afterwards, he returned to his hermitage until his calling to join the Carmelite Order – which had only recently entered England – was revealed to him.

The Carmelites’ ascetic, contemplative lifestyle was combined with ardent devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Impressed by the Carmelites’ rigorous monasticism, Simon joined and was sent to complete a course of studies at Oxford. Not long after his return to the order, he was appointed its vicar general.

After becoming the Superior-General of the Carmelites, Simon founded many Carmelite Communities, especially in University towns such as Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, and Bologna.

Late in his life, Simon received a private revelation about the Brown Scapular, a monastic garment worn by Carmelites. The Blessed Virgin Mary with a multitude of angels appeared to Simon holding the Scapular of the Order in her hands, and said, "Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount 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."

This vision was the source of the Brown Scapular devotion – a tradition which involves the wearing of an adapted version of the garment, along with certain spiritual commitments, by lay Catholics as well as priests and religious. Through Simon Stock the devotion of the scapular spread throughout the world, not only among the people, but also among kings and princes who found themselves very honoured to wear the sign of the servants of the Blessed Virgin.

Simon died in France in 1265, 100 years after his birth.

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