The Carmelite Review – Saint Simon Stock

Saint Simon StockThis great saint and favored son of Mary has been already made familiar to our readers, since he was the privileged one through whom our Blessed Mother bequeathed to us the holy Scapular, His early life was that of a hermit. His biographers tell us that he passed his youthful days in the trunk of an oak tree. In the natural order that giant of the forest gives us the diminutive acorn; in Saint Simon the order is reversed, and we behold a giant in holiness. The historic English oak in which was hidden the Magna charta, the famous document which gave temporal rights to a nation, bears somewhat of a similarity to this other venerable oak tree “rich in humility’s flower” which lodged the saintly Englishman who was to be the heavenly appointed means of giving to his Order and the universal Church the great privileges of the Brown Scapular.

The details of his life we shall leave for a more lengthy sketch in some future number of The Review, suffice it to say that he was appointed Superior-General of the Order of Carmel. It was his lot to witness stormy days in his native land. He saw his Order threatened with destruction, but his courage failed not. He knew too well that his Blessed Mother would protect her brethren. Then it was that he composed, and often fervently repeated, that beautiful prayer Flos Carmeli, Flower of Carmel. On that memorable day, the 16th of July, 1251, the Queen of heaven came to him with the holy Scapular, and addressed him in those consoling words,

“Receive, most beloved son, the Scapular of thy Order, a sign of my confraternity, a privilege both to thee and to all Carmelites.” Saint Simon had seen the vine of Carmel transplanted from the hallowed soil of Palestine, and now saw it firmly rooted in the land which was “Mary’s Dowry.” Before his happy death the saint beheld the vine of his order spreading its branches throughout the European continent. At his death he left 7,000 flourishing monasteries with a total membership of 180,000. His spiritual children modeled their lives after that of their father. They were, so to speak, new blossoms on the old but fruitful tree on the mount. It rejoiced the heart of Saint Simon to behold his disciples like so many

“May flowers blooming around him
Fragrant, filling the air with a
Strange and wonderful sweetness.”

The saint died at Bordeaux and was buried there. His last words were “Ave Maria!” About twenty-two years ago a large portion of the relics of the saint were transferred to the Carmelite church in London. It was an occasion of great festivity. The ceremonies were presided over by the late Cardinal Manning.

The practical advice for the Feast of Saint Simon, which occurs on May 16th is designated on the calendar of the League of the Sacred Heart, viz: “Wear the Scapular.”

– text taken from the article “Flowers of Carmel” in the May 1893 edition of The Carmelite Review magazine, authored by P.A.B.