+ This title of Mary refers to the origins of the ancient Carmelite Order, whose first members lived as hermits on Mount Carmel in Palestine.
+ The hermits’ first chapel on Mount Carmel was dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In time, the hermits left Mount Carmel and became itinerant beggars, spreading their way of life and spirituality throughout Europe.
+ According to legend, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Simon Stock, a Carmelite priest, in England on July 16, 1251, presenting him with the brown Carmelite scapular. In time, devotion to “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” and the brown scapular spread throughout the world.
+ Although this is the patronal feast of the Carmelite Order, the Church’s liturgy on this day focuses more broadly on Mary’s role as intercessor and protector of Christians.
For prayer and reflection
“The scapular is a Marian habit or garment. It is both a sign and pledge. A sign of belonging to Mary; a pledge of her motherly protection, not only in this life but after death. As a sign, it is a conventional sign signifying three elements strictly joined: first, belonging to a religious family particularly devoted to Mary, especially dear to Mary, the Carmelite Order; second, consecration to Mary, devotion to and trust in her Immaculate Heart; third, an urge to become like Mary by imitating her virtues, above all her humility, chastity, and spirit of prayer.”—Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD
On July 16 we also remember Saint Bartolomeu dei Martiri Fernandes. A Dominican friar, he was a participant in the Council of Trent and helped to introduce the council’s decisions in Portugal. Named the archbishop of Braga, he built hospitals and hospitals and established a seminary. Beyond these efforts, he worked to promote quality faith formation and catechesis for the people of his diocese. Saint Bartolomeu died in 1590 and was canonized in 2019.
May the venerable intercession of the glorious Virgin Mary
come to our aid, we pray, O Lord,
so that, fortified by her protection,
we may reach the mountain which is Christ.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.