Mount Carmel (Stella Maris) Haifa, Israel
About Mount Carmel:
Located in Haifa, not far from Nazareth, lies one of the most significant sites in the Holy Land. During the 12th Century when the Crusaders occupied this area, groups of hermits chose to occupy this site in imitation of Elijah the Prophet, who was said to have lived here. They founded the order known as the Carmelites and built a chapel here in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was to become the Patroness of the Carmelite Order.
The Monks habit was a brown tunic and scapular, along with a white cape and hood (due to the latter, they were often called the white friars). The hermits were expelled in 1291 at the time of the Saracen conquest and finally were able to return in the 18th Century. Construction then began on the church as it is today.
Appearance of Our Lady of Mount Carmel:
In 1252, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in a vision to a Carmelite Monk, Saint Simon Stock at Aylesford Priory in England, and entrusted to him the Brown Scapular, with the promise that those who wore it would receive special graces. Although the scapular refers to the garment worn by the Carmelites, today it usually refers to the small piece of cloth cut from that garment and worn around the neck.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is July 16.
Interestingly, Our Lady appeared for the last time in Lourdes on July 16th.
She also appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Fatima on October 13th, 1917. This was the day of the “Miracle of the Sun” and her last appearance here. She appeared holding the child Jesus in one hand and the brown scapular in the other hand .
Mount Carmel Monastery is one of the seven sacred sites along an imaginary line stretching from Ireland to Israel, known as “The Sword of Saint Michael“.
The Stella Maris (which means Star of the Sea) Monastery is located in a beautiful setting facing the Mediterranean Sea and overlooking the Stella Maris lighthouse.
The grotto of Elijah the Prophet, the cave where he is believed to have lived, is located under the altar. This site is sacred to Christians, Jews, Muslims and Druze alike.
You can access the cave by walking a flight of stone steps. We are not aware of any official website for the Monastery.
Photo courtesy wikipedia