Today’s saint of the day, St. Simon Stock, was born in Aylesford in County Kent, England in 1165. Although we know little about Simon Stock's early life, legend has it that the name Stock, meaning "tree trunk," is based on the fact that, beginning at age twelve, he lived as a hermit in a hollow tree trunk of an oak tree. He drank only water and ate herbs, roots, and wild apples. In 1212, he joined the Carmelites soon after they arrived in England. He finished his studies at Oxford and in 1215, he was appointed Vicar General.
Simon Stock helped the Order spread throughout Europe; he founded many Carmelite Communities, especially in university towns such as Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, and Bologna. He revised the Rule of the Order to make them mendicant friars instead of hermits. He was elected as the sixth superior general of the Carmelites in 1247 around age 82. Simon governed the order with great sanctity and prudence for twenty years. He had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother and was known for his gifts of miracles and prophecy. He wrote several hymns and decrees for his order. Simon Stock died on May 16, 1265, at the age one hundred and was buried in the cathedral of Bordeaux. He is the patron of Bordeaux, France.
Simon Stock's is best known for an apparition he had in Cambridge, England, on July 16, 1251, during a time of oppression of the Order. In it the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him holding the brown scapular in one hand. Her words were: "Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of your Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for you and for your children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection."
Vine ever blossoming,
Virgin who bore a child.
No one is like thee.
Mother gentle and kind.
Yet never touched by man!
To Carmelites give thou the privilege.
Help us Star of the Sea.
~ Simon Stock
Father, You called St Simon Stock to serve You
in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Through his prayers help us like him to live in your presence
and to work for the salvation of the human family.
For more information about St. Simon Stock:
Read this article about St. Simon and the Scapular.
Read the life of St. Simon Stock from Butler's Lives of the Saints.