July 16 – Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Devotion to Our Lady under this title is perhaps one of the oldest in the Church; in fact, it may have been started within her own lifetime. It is believed that she visited on Mount Carmel the hermetical spiritual descendants of Prophet Elias and the “Sons of the Prophet,” who lived a life of solitary prayer and meditation on that mountain. These men had heard and received the preaching of St. John the Baptist, and after Pentecost embraced the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary was always a spiritual inspiration to these men, assisting them with her interest and prayers, which gave them a close tie to her, so much so that they built a chapel in her honor, believed to be the first Marian Chapel in the world. They became known as the Brothers of the Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel, and the Carmelite Order sees its origin in these early monastics.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is known to many Catholic faithful as the “scapular feast,” associated with the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a devotional sacramental signifying the wearer’s consecration to Mary and affiliation with the Carmelite Order. A tradition first attested to in the late 14th century says that Saint Simon Stock, an early prior general of the Carmelite Order, had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in which she gave him the Brown Scapular which formed part of the Carmelite habit, promising that those who died wearing the scapular would be saved.