Having voluntarily chosen to deprive himself of human conversation, he was favoured with that of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the angels who urged him to persevere in his life of sacrifice and love. The Queen of Heaven told him that some hermits from Palestine would soon land in England, adding that he should join those men whom she considered as her servants.
Indeed, Lord John Vesoy and Lord Richard Gray of Codnor returned from the Holy Land, bringing with them several hermits from Mount Carmel. Simon Stock joined them in 1212 and was elected Vicar General of the Carmelite Order in 1215. He begged the Virgin Mary by fervent prayers and tears to defend this Order, which was devoted to her, and she appeared in a dream to Pope Honorius III, so the pope finally confirmed the Rule of Carmelites in 1226.
Another time the Mother of God appeared to Simon, surrounded by a dazzling light and accompanied by a large number of blessed spirits, with the scapular of the order in her hand. This scapular she gave him with the words: “Hoc erit tibi et cunctis Carmelitis privilegium, in hoc habitu moriens salvabitur” – This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone wearing this habit shall be saved.
Through Saint Simon Stock the devotion of the scapular spread throughout the world, not only among the people, but also among kings and princes who found themselves very honoured to wear the sign of the servants of the Blessed Virgin. Stock breathed his last in the city of Bordeaux while visiting monasteries, in the 20th year of his office as Vicar General. The Church added his last words to the Angelic salutation: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”
Another important aspect of wearing the Scapular is the Sabbatine Privilege. This concerns a promise made by Our Lady to Pope John XXII. In a papal letter he issued, he recounted a vision that he had had. He stated that the Blessed Virgin had said to him in this vision, concerning those who wear the Brown Scapular: “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
In order to receive the spiritual blessings associated with the Scapular, it is necessary to be formally enrolled in the Brown Scapular by either a priest or a lay person who has been given this faculty. Once enrolled, the enrollment is for life and need not be repeated. Anyone, adult or infant, who has not previously been enrolled may be enrolled in the Brown Scapular.
Pope Pius XII went so far as to say: “The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit.” In our own times, Pope Paul VI said: “Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin … the Rosary and the Scapular of Carmel” and in another place referred to the Scapular as: “so highly recommended by our illustrious predecessors.”