Javascript is currently disabled. This site requires Javascript to function correctly. Please enable Javascript in your browser!

Saint Simon Stock

Saint Simon Stock
  • Century: 12th & 13th Century
  • Patronage: Bordeaux, France
  • Feast Day: May 16th

St. Simon Stock was an Englishman, who lived in the 13th century.  He was an early Prior General of the Carmelite Religious Order.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is traditionally said to have appeared to him and give him the Carmelite Habit, the Brown Scapular with a promise that those who died wearing it will be saved.  Popular devotion to St. Simon Stock is usually associated with devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  The Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel had their origins as a Christian Hermit Community in Palestine.  In the early 13th century the members moved to Europe where they became Mendicant Friars.  St. Simon Stock, being from England, became an early leader of the Order as it established itself in Europe.  

What is known of his life comes primarily from medieval catalogues of saints, and of Carmelite Prior Generals.  They are not always consistent with one anther in their details.  The earliest of these describe St. Simon as someone known for holiness during his life, and miracles attested to this after his death.  He is said to have died on May 16th.  He is believed to have lived at Aylesford in Kent, a place that hosted in 1247 the first general chapter of the Carmelite Order held outside the Holy Land, and were there is still a monastery of Carmelite Friars.  He was the 5th or 6th Prior General of the Carmelites and died in Bordeaux, France, where he was buried.  

The earliest Liturgical Office in St. Simon Stock’s honor was composed in Bordeaux, France, and dates from 1435.  Liturgies are first known to be celebrated in Ireland and England in 1458, and throughout the Carmelite Order in 1564.  His feast day is May 16th.  

On July 16, 1251, tradition tells us “St. Simon was an Englishman, a man of great holiness and devotion, who always in his prayers asked the Virgin Mary to favor his Order with some singular privilege.  The Virgin appeared to him holding the Scapular in her hand saying, ‘This is for you and yours a privilege; the one who dies in it will be saved’”.  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 Sacramental.  There was an investigation as to whether or not the vision ever really took place.  Shortly after Vatican II, the historical uncertainties resulted in the Church briefly striking the feast day of St. Simon Stock from the Carmelite Liturgical Calendar, though it was restored in 1979 as an optional memorial, on the condition that no mention be made of the scapular vision.  Devotion to the Brown Scapular remains widespread and recommended by the Catholic Church, and the Carmelites continue to find meaning in the traditional story and iconography of St. Simon Stock receiving the Brown Scapular, particularly his and their relationship with Mary.  

Practical Take Away

St. Simon Stock was an Englishman, who lived in the 13th century.  He was an early Prior General of the Carmelite Religious Order.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is traditionally said to have appeared to him and give him the Carmelite Habit, the Brown Scapular with a promise that those who died wearing it will be saved.  Popular devotion to St. Simon Stock is usually associated with devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  The Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel had their origins as a Christian Hermit Community in Palestine.  In the early 13th century the members moved to Europe where they became Mendicant Friars.  St. Simon Stock, being from England, became an early leader of the Order as it established itself in Europe.