Catholic Herald Reporter
IN a special ceremony to be conducted by Bishop Cowderoy the relic of St. Simon Stock, taken to Aylesford from Bordeaux in 1951, is to be enshrined in a newly-built relic chapel dedicated to Our Lady and Simon Stock. The ceremony will take place on Sunday,' July 19, when the relic-the skull of the saint-is taken from the wall of the small chapel in the cloister. and carried to its new resting place, a towerlike structure symbolising Mount Carmel from the designs of Adam Kossowski, and built behind the major altar of Aylesford's new shrine-church.
In 1951 when the Friars returned to Aylesford Archbishop Richaud of Bordeaux brought the relic and handed it to Bishop Cowderoy in a ceremony which took place on the old humped bridge leading into Aylesford village. St. Simon Stock, born around 1165, was the first Englishman to join the Carmelite Order. It is possible that he was for a time prior of the hermits on Mount Carmel. before their migration to Europe and reorganisation as an Order of Medicant Friars.
Later he was Prior of the Carmelites house at Aylesford and later Prior General of the Order. He is reputed to have died at a great age at the Carmelite House in Bordeaux. The date given is 1265.
The relics of the Saint, preserved for many years at Bordeaux, were smuggled away by two priests in a cloak-and-daggerlike action during the French Revolution, It was not until 1816 that they were again transplanted to Bordeaux where they were placed in a casket above the high altar.
The ceremony on Sunday, July 19 will be a double event, not only will the relic be enshrined in Adrian Gilbert Scott's new shrine chapel, but three priests will he ordained in a partly openair ceremony. They will include one Carmelite, Brother Wilfred McGreal, and two Benedictines from Ramsgate.