Who is Our Lady of Mount Carmel?

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title for Mary as the patroness of the Carmelite order. Mount Carmel is located about twenty miles from Nazareth. For many years, the mountain attracted religious hermits, and around the thirteenth century they became formalized into the Carmelite order. The monks built a church there honoring Mary, and their spirituality as an order is based on regarding her as a model of contemplation and closeness to Christ.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is sometimes referred to as Our Lady of the Brown Scapular. A scapular is the sleeveless outer garment that a monk would wear over his shoulders. Over the centuries a smaller version of the scapular (often two small square of cloth connected with string) evolved and was worn by laypeople as a way of showing spiritual affinity with a particular religious order. Tradition holds that St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite, had a vision in which Mary gave him the brown scapular. It has since become a symbol of the Carmelite order, worn by religious and laypeople alike.