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May 16

St Simon Stock - May 16

Saint Simon Stock

Priest, Brown Scapular

(1165 – 1265)

“This shall be the proviledge of you and for all Carmelites, that whoever dies in the habit shall be saved.

The Virgin Mary’s declaration to Saint Simon Stock after granting him the brown scapular

Saint’s Life Story

Little Known of His Early Life 

Simon was born around 1165 in Aylesford, County Kent, England of a distinguished family. Little is known of Simon’s early life. Legend says that at age twelve, Simon began to live as a hermit in a hollow oak tree. The name Stock is believed derived from the old English for tree trunk. Simon lived an ascetic life living on a diet of herbs, roots and wild apples and drank only water.

Entered Carmelite Order

Later, Simon was an itinerant preacher until he entered the Carmelite Order which had just come to England. Simon went as a Carmelite to live and study in Rome, Italy and from there to Mt. Carmel, where he spent several years.

Elected General of Carmelite Order

In 1247, at the age of 82, Simon was elected the sixth general of the Carmelites at the first chapter held at Aylesford, England. Notwithstanding his great age Simon showed remarkable energy as general and did much for the benefit of the order. During his occupancy of the office the order became widely spread in southern and western Europe, especially in England. Simon was able to found houses in the university cities of that era that included Cambridge, England in 1248, Oxford, England in 1853, Paris France and Bologna, Italy in 1260. This action was important for both the growth of the institution and for the training of its younger members.

Revised the Rule

Simon revised the Rule of the Order to make them mendicant friars instead of hermits. Nevertheless, the order was greatly oppressed, and it was still struggling everywhere to secure admission, either to obtain the consent of the secular clergy, or the toleration of other orders. 

Prayed to Mary

Simon is best known for an apparition he had in Cambridge, England, on July 16, 1251, during a time of oppression of the Order.  Simon and the friars took their woes to their patroness, the Virgin Mary.  In his vision, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him holding the brown scapular in one hand. stating to him. “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of your Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for you and for your 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.”
On January 13, 1252, the Order received a letter of protection from Pope Innocent IV, protecting them from harassment.

Giving the Brown Scapular to Lay People

In its original context, the meaning of this promise was that Carmelite religious who persevered in their vocation would be saved. Beginning in the 16th century, the Carmelites began giving the Brown Scapular to lay people who wanted to be affiliated with the Order, and it became increasingly popular as a religious article.

Devotion to the Brown Scapular remains widespread and recommended by the Catholic Church. The Carmelites continue to find meaning in the traditional story and iconography of Simon Stock receiving the scapular, particularly as reflecting their filial relationship with Mary.

His Death

While visiting a Carmelite monastery at Bordeaux, France, Simon died on May 16, 1265, at the age of 100. His skull was transferred to the Carmelite friary in Aylesford, England in 1951.  While never officially canonized, Simon has been venerated as a saint by the Carmelites since 1564. Pope John Paul II addressed the Carmelite family in 2001 on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the bestowal of the Scapular, he said that

“Over time this rich Marian heritage of Carmel has become, through the spread of the Holy Scapular devotion, a treasure for the whole Church. By its simplicity, its anthropological value and its relationship to Mary’s role in regard to the Church and humanity, this devotion was so deeply and widely accepted by the People of God that it came to be expressed in the memorial of 16 July on the liturgical calendar of the universal Church,” the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”

Beatified:           N/A

Canonized:        N/A

Feast Day:          May 16

Patron Saint:     Bordeaux, France



Saint Simon Stock is a great example for us. He and his order confronted harsh opposition among secular clergy. So, Saint Simon called upon the Virgin Mary in prayer. She responded to Simon and handed him the brown Scapular while stating to him, “This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved.” 

When you have a problem, do you pray to the Virgin Mary as Saint Simon Stock did?


Heavenly Father, you called Saint Simon Stock to serve you in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Through his prayers, help us, like him, to live in your presence, and to work for the salvation of the human family. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Saint Simon Stock, pray for us. Amen.

Source: St. Simon Stock – Saint of the Day

Saint Links 

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Simon Stock

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 16 May – St Simon Stock (1165-1265) – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume V: May. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. May 16 St. Simon Stock, Confessor

Catholic Ireland – May 16 – St Simon Stock (1165-1265) English Carmelite – Saint Simon Stock (1265)

Catholic News Agency – St. Simon Stock Feast Day: May 16

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Simon Stock

Discalced Carmelites Friars – St. Simon Stock and the Brown Scapular

Independent Catholic News  – St. Simon Stock

New Advent  Hilgers, J. (1912). St. Simon Stock. In The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Wikipedia – Simon Stock

Video Links

Our Lady of Mount Carmel – YouTube Video (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)

The Brown Scapular Explained by a Discalced Carmelite Priest – YouTube Video (ICS Publications)