Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Carmelites at Stella Maris Monastery
The Blessed Mother was first given the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by the first Carmelites who lived in the Holy Land during the 12th and 13th centuries.A few years ago, I was privileged to visit the Stella Maris Monastery which is located on a high cliff above the city of Haifa on the Mediterranean Coast. The Carmelite nuns at the monastery fed us a wonderful Spaghetti and wine lunch and then gave us a tour. The Stella Maris Monastery – which in Latin means “Our Lady – Star of the Sea” holds a wonderful treasure… the cave of Saint Elijah! We walked through the dimly lit monastery and viewed beautiful statues and artwork and then descended into a grotto where the cave was located.
Elijah was said to have prayed here and also established a school for prophets. Elisha also studied here. At one time this area was caves, since the monastery was built in the 19th century.
Through the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mary has given us the Brown Scapular as a sign of protection, salvation, and aid.
Mary gave the scapular to Saint Simon Stock who was the prior general of the Carmelite religious order in the 13th century. She told him that all who die wearing the scapular would be saved. The Brown Scapular also has the Sabantine Promise attached to it. This privelege or promise says that those who wear the scapular and fulfill two other conditions, will be freed from purgatory on the following Saturday after their death. Pope John XXII issued the Papal Bull on March 3, 1322 and many other popes have approved and reiterated this promise.
Pope John Paul II wore the brown scapular and stated,“Even I, from my youngest days, have worn around my neck the Scapular of Our Lady and I take refuge in trust under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus.I hope the Scapular will be for everyone, especially the faithful who wear it, a help and defense in times of danger, a seal of peace and sign of Mary’s care”. – General Audience, Castelgandolfo July 16, 2003
Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
“Oh most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. Oh Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. Oh Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity (make request). There are none that can withstand your power. Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Sweet Mother I place this cause in your hands. Amen.
Since today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, let’s think about the Blessed Mother and her love for her son, Jesus Christ. Let us remember as we wear our Brown Scapulars of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that the Blessed Virgin Mary is a beautiful model of virtue and prayer. She points us to Jesus in every way. She is our spiritual mother and will protect us and lead us to her son, Jesus Christ.