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St. Simon Stock

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May. 16, 2012

The early life of St. Simon Stock is not well-known.  What we do know of the man involves many of the stories and legends surrounding his time as a member of the Carmelites.  Born at some point in the mid-12th Century, as a young boy, St. Simon lived as a hermit in the hollowed-out trunk of a tree.  Well-acquainted with hardship and penitential works, after he was of-age, St. Simon Stock joined a band of primitive Carmelites. 

During his tenure with this religious order, St. Simon helped catapult the Carmelite Order to unparalleled success in England and Ireland.  A holy man who was keen at attracting vocations and financial support, it is said a crowd of hostility and envy surrounded his work.  Nonetheless, his efforts remained undeterred and St. Simon was eventually elected superior-general of the order in 1247.  He was already in his eighties.  However, he would lead the order for another twenty years—he lived to be over 100 years old. 

As superior-general, St. Simon Stock continued his leadership—which was both spiritually fruitful, as well as practically productive.  The Carmelites established four houses and missions in major university towns of Europe.  Also, a number of foundations were endowed for the work he and his friars undertook.  But aside from the worldly success, it was St. Simon Stock’s mystical visions that marked his tenure.  The promise of the brown scapular was given to him from the hands and mouth of the Blessed Mother.  Further, his prayers often carried him into levitations and rapturous ecstasy.  Additionally, a number of odd miracles are attributed to the saint, perhaps the most humorous involving an offering of baked fish.  St. Simon Stock, since his hermit days as a boy, closely watched his diet and maintained a very plain and meatless offering for himself.  One day, a benefactor offered him a cooked fish fillet, which St. Simon Stock dismissed from his sight with a swift flip of the hand, inadvertently knocking it into a nearby pond.  Miraculously, the fillet was turned into a living fish, and it swam away! 

St. Simon Stock died in 1265.  His grave continued to be a place of refuge for weary souls who found relief through the many miracles that continued to flow from his intercession.