Saint Simon Stock: The Iconography

In the city of Bordeaux, the Englishman Blessed Simon Stock, especially devoted to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and made glorious through brilliant miracles. – Carmelite Martyrology for May 161

Most images of St. Simon Stock show him receiving the Carmelite "scapular." This item comes in two versions. The first is a long, brown cloth of some width with a hole in the middle for one's head. This is worn by Carmelite Friars. The second, known as the Brown Scapular, can be worn by any lay person. Two small cloth squares are connected by brown cord or ribbon so that one square hangs on the chest and the other on the back. The Brown Scapular is thought to help the wearer escape the pains of Purgatory.2

The Acta Sanctorum's brief article on this saint (May vol. 3, 653-54) mentions a couple of miracles that could lend themselves to pictorial representation, though I have not yet seen any related images. In one, Simon objects as a vegetarian to being served a baked fish. When he throws the fish into the river, it swims away. In the other, when he runs out of Mass wine for his hermitage he renews his supply by blessing some water.

Prepared in 2015 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University

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St. Simon (on the right) re­ceives the large ver­sion of the Car­me­lite sca­pu­lar from the Vir­gin and Child. (See the de­scrip­tion page.)


In this image, Simon re­ceives the "Brown Sca­pu­lar," the lay per­son's ver­sion that can be worn un­der one's clo­thing. (See the de­scrip­tion page)


St. Simon Stock and the Child Jesus, Oaxaca, Mexico (See the description page)

ALSO SEE

DATES

  • Feast day: May 16
  • Died 1265

HAGIOGRAPHY

NOTES

1 Acta Sanctorum, May vol. 3, 653.

2 This claim was made in a circular in 1641, almost three centuries after Simon's death. Even as late as 1680 the article on Simon Stock in the Acta Sanctorum (May vol. 3, 653-54) took no notice of the claim, or of the scapular itself. However, various papal documents through the years have declared that the wearing of the Carmelite habit earns the faithful friar or tertiary the assistance of the Virgin at the time of death. See the Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Scapular."