St Simon Stock (May 16)
ST SIMON Stock (died 1265) was an early English Carmelite credited with having received a vision of the Virgin in which he was informed that whoever died wearing his order's brown scapular two woollen bands worn over the shoulders would not be lost.
According to one account Simon was born into a noble family in Kent, and as a young man showed such religious fervour that he lived as a hermit in a tree trunk, or "stock". Thus prepared, he apparently ' studied theology at Oxford.
In the 1230s Simon went to the Holy Land, where he was much attracted by the
monks of Carmel, whose way of life he eagerly embraced. Around this time, though, the monks were beginning to migrate to the West in order to escape the hostility of the Saracens. By 1244 Simon was back in Kent, at Aylesford, eager to play his part in transforming the Carmelites from a few scattered hermits to an order of mendicant friars. He is said to have founded a number of houses in England, Ireland, and even Spain. Certainly he traydied on the continent. for he died in Bordeaux. About 700 years later, in 1951, his relics were returned to Aylesford.