The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a feast day which is celebrated on July 16th. It is an optional memorial feast in the Roman Catholic Church and is used to celebrate the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Carmelite Saint Simon Stock on July 16th, 1251.

History of The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel is a mountain range in Israel, close to the port city of Haifa, which is near where Christ lived as a child. Which has led many people to consider it a holy mountain. Even before it became home to the Carmelite monks who would eventually call it home during the 12th century. These monks were particularly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and regarded her as their patroness.

According to Carmelites, Mount Carmel has been home to their order since ancient times. Which is an idea that has been disputed by many. However, despite the controversy, Pope Honorius III approved the order during the early 13th century.

On July 16th, 1251 St. Simon Stock is said to have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary and that she had given him the Carmelite habit – the Brown Scapular. According to Carmelite tradition, anyone who wears the Brown scapular faithfully – while remaining faithful to the Virgin Mary – will be delivered early from Purgatory when they die.

In 1609, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine would look closely at the origins of the feast, as well as the origins of the Carmelites, and would decide that The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was indeed the patronal feast of the Carmelites.

Once this was done, word of the feast began to spread far and wide. It would become approved to be celebrated in parts of Italy, Austria, Portugal and Spain. This continued until it was placed on the universal calendar of the Latin Church by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.

The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Customs & Traditions

People observe this day in a variety of different ways. Some people merely go to serviced dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel or take some time to pray to the Blessed Virgin. Other people have a priest enroll them in the Brown Scapula – which allows them to wear it as a sign of their devotion to the Virgin Mary. In East Harlem in New York City in the U.S., there is an annual festival for Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This festival has been held annually since 1881.

Where is it celebrated?
Chile (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
July 16 Sunday
Next year (2024)
July 16 Tuesday
Last year (2022)
July 16 Saturday