Did you know that the origins of the devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel date back over 750 years? According to tradition, the scapular of Carmel was presented to St. Simon Stock in the 13th century during a period when the Carmelite Order was severely oppressed. The Blessed Mother appeared to him and said:
“Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy 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.”
In the years following, the scapular became a widely used devotion, and now the faithful across the globe look to the Blessed Mother for protection and guidance under her title as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. As we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on July 16, we invite you to reflect upon a prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and discover where she is honored at the Basilica.
The Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
In the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Blessed Mother is depicted in relief at the center of a vivid blue-tile mosaic bordered by contrasting red flowers. The Mother and Child hold the brown scapular given to Simon Stock and are encircled by sculptures of six Carmelite saints: Andrew Corsini, Teresa of Avila, Simon Stock, Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, John of the Cross, and Thérèse of Lisieux. Above the chapel is a double stained-glass window depicting Elijah’s consecration of Mount Carmel to God – a place believed to be connected to the origins of the Carmelite Order.
A Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
The chapel features the following prayer, which we invite you to reflect upon:
“O Most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, beautiful vine, splendor of heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity… O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my mother.
O 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 my necessity; there are none that can withstand your power.
O show me herein you are my Mother. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse. Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands.”
Rohling, Geraldine M., PhD, MAEd. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception: Guide and Tour Book. Washington, D.C.: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 2018.