This Saturday, July 16 is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel! This feast honors the Blessed Virgin Mary as the patroness of the Carmelite order and calls to mind the tradition of the Brown Scapular.
The first Carmelites with hermits who lived on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land starting in the late 12th century. At that time they built a chapel to the 'Lady of the place' which eventually grew into the devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. In 1251, Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock, the prior of the Carmelite order. She gave him the Carmelite habit as well as the Brown Scapular. When handing him the scapular, Our Lady told him: “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.”
According to the Sisters of Carmel, "True devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary consists in three things: veneration, confidence and love. By simply wearing the Scapular, we can tell her every moment of the day that we venerate her, love her and trust in her protection."
The Congregation for Divine Worship explains the Brown Scapular as "an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer."
Onr must be enrolled in the Brown Scapular Confraternity through a simple ceremony performed by a priest. As part of this practice, Our Lady of Mount Carmel promised to save those who wear the scapular from the fires of hell and shorten their stay in purgatory if they should pass from this world still owing some debt of punishment.
For this, we are asked to do three things:
1.Wear the Brown Scapular continuously.
2.Observe chastity according to one’s state in life (married/single).
3.Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin OR Observe the fasts of the Church together with abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays OR With permission of a priest, say five decades of Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary OR With permission of a priest, substitute some other good work.