St Simon Stock

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Carmelite friar. According to tradition St Simon Stock was born somewhere in Kent, possibly the village of Stockbury, and lived in Aylesford. The surname 'Stock' appears in some documents but not in others, and is related to a story that the Saint lived for a time in a hollow tree ('stock' meant tree trunk) before the arrival of the Carmelites in England.

Little is known of his early life. he may have travelled to the Holy Land on pilgrimage. He was elected prior general of the Carmelite order in 1247. This was a crucial time in the history of the order which had recently come to the West from Palestine. Among the foundations established at this time were Cambridge, Oxford, Paris and Bologna.

Another tradition describes how St Simon experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary, which lead to the establishment of the Brown Scapular. This is depicted in the 17th century painting by Van Ooste in the Church of St Andrew in Lille (pictured left).

The Latin hymn to Mary: Flos Carmeli - Flower of Carmeli' is attributed to St Simon.

In 1951, his relics were brought from Bordeaux to Aylesford on the rebirth of the old friary which is once again a thriving religious centre in the heart of Kent.

Read more about Aylesford Priory here: www.thefriars.org.uk/

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