My Thoughts on 16/07/2021

Today we keep the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I have been fortunate to have stayed on two occasions at the Stella Maris monastery that is built on one of the promontories of Mount Carmel which dominates the port and city of Haifa, Israel. From the roof of the monastery you have a wonderful view over the harbour to the ancient crusader city of Acre. The church here is built over a grotto, a sacred to the memory of the prophet Elijah.

It was on Mount Carmel in the 12th century that some hermits took up residence and they became known as the Carmelites who are dedicated to living a contemplative life under the patronage of the Holy Mother of God.

Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centred on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also known as the Brown Scapular. Traditionally, Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite named Saint Simon Stock (1165-1265). 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 where there is still a monastery of Carmelite friars. The skull of Simon Stock was brought to Aylesford in 1950 and is in the shrine chapel.

Let us today for the community at Aylesford and for all Carmelite communities throughout the UK.

Canon Father Anthony
Canon Father AnthonyParish Priest