Feast of Joan of Toulouse and Simon Stock (March 31)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Simon Stock (Kneeling on the Left)

Image Source = Giovanni Dall’Orto



Carmelite Nun



Carmelite Friar

His Feast Day Transferred from May 16

The English-born St. Simon Stock was a Carmelite friar, who, according to certain accounts, lived for a time in a hollow tree trunk.  Becoming the Carmelite General in 1247, he spent the rest of his life expanding the order throughout Europe, including the British Isles.  He did this despite opposition from within the Roman Catholic Church, although a Papal bull (issued by Innocent IV in 1252) helped greatly.

St. Simon Stock was devoted to Mary, Dei Mater, who, according to accounts, appeared to him on July 16, 1251 and revealed the brown scapular to him.  There is much doubt in many contemporary Roman Catholic quarters with regard to the veracity of this vision, but the brown scapular has long been a sacramentary of great significance among the Carmelites.

The saint died in 1265.

He crossed paths with Blessed Joan of Toulouse in 1265, when visiting that city, the site of a Carmelite monastery.  Joan approached the saint and asked to become a Carmelite.  St. Simon Stock, as head of the order, had the authority to consent to this request, which he did.  She made her vows in his presence, thereby becoming the first Third Order Carmelite.  Blessed Joan, not having a convent, continued to live in her home.  She devoted her life to God and good works, including daily Mass and devotions, running errands and performing other tasks for the elderly and the ill, visiting the poor, the sick, and the lonely, being cheerful, and training boys to help others.

The meaning of life is to love God with one’s entire essence, to love oneself as a bearer of the image of God, and to love one’s fellow human beings in the same way.  The ultimate guides for this are the Golden Rule and the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  St. Simon Stock and Blessed Joan of Toulouse devoted most of their lives to this purpose.  How ought this goal to play out in your life?





A Collect and the Associated Readings for a Monastic from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), of The Episcopal Church:

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:  Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servants Blessed Joan of Toulouse and Saint Simon Stock, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34 or 34:1-8

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62


Revised on December 24, 2016


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