The Church joins the sacred memory of the Mother of the Redeemer to Mount Carmel, a mountain range in modern Israel that in biblical times was made holy by the prophets Elijah and Elisha nine centuries before Christ. During the 1100's A.D. a number of westerners settled on Mount Carmel in imitation of the Old Testament prophets and other holy people who over the many centuries had lived there as hermits. They formed a community and were given a rule of life approved by the Holy See. In the center of their rough dwellings was a chapel dedicated to Mary as "The Lady of the Place," their patroness and protector. In time she was called, and devotion was given to her, as "Our Lady of Mount Carmel."
The Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16th each year. The Carmelite Family observes this day as a "solemn commemoration" for the countless graces Our Lady has brought to her spiritual sons and daughters associated with the Carmelite Order. By long tradition, July 16 is also associated with the gift of the brown scapular to Saint Simon Stock in 1251. The Church has strongly encouraged the preaching of the scapular. Indeed July 16th is often known as "the scapular feast" - the scapular is a miniature Carmelite habit. The wearer associates himself or herself to the fully professed members of the Carmelite Family, confident that the Mother of Christ will keep those devoted to her close to Jesus her Son. Scapular wearers are encouraged to live an even more generous Christian life.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel encourages us as a loving mother, guards us as a powerful patroness, and walks with us as a faithful sister.