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[July 16] is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel — a day honoring Our Blessed Mother as patroness of the Carmelite order. Church Militant's Nick Wylie explains the importance of the day, especially for those who wear the brown scapular.
July 16, in many places, is a day marked by processions with statues of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
This title of Mary comes from an apparition said to have occurred on July 16 in AD 1251 to St. Simon Stock, an English Carmelite.
Tradition holds the Blessed Virgin handed St. Simon a scapular made of brown wool, saying, "This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire."
The practice of wearing the scapular began with members of the Carmelite order, and was later extended to the laity.
Enrollment in the brown scapular is a ceremony conducted by a priest.
Many who enroll also make a commitment to recite, every day, either the Rosary or the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a set of daily liturgical prayers.
That additional commitment comes from a later tradition, in which 14th-century Pope John XXII saw an apparition of Our Lady. She told him she would bring souls out of Purgatory the Saturday after their death if they wore the scapular, practiced chastity and were faithful to praying the Little Office. The Rosary is often substituted for the Little Office.
Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Our Lady of Fatima, once remarked, "The Rosary and the scapular are inseparable."
Our Lady appeared several times to shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. In her final apparition, she appeared as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, holding the brown scapular in her hands.
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