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Aylesford Priory, England: Retreat Center and Shrine of Saint Simon Stock


Click here to order this Brown Scapular and Medal
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About Saint Simon Stock:

Before talking about the Shrine here, we need to talk about Saint Simon Stock.  We do not have much information about  Simon Stock’s early life.  Tradition tells us that, as a young man, he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he joined a group of Carmelites at Mount Carmel, and he returned to Europe with a group of priests from there.  He supposedly lived in a hollowed-out tree for some time, hence the name “stock”.

Simon Stock founded many Carmelite Communities. He also facilitated the change from a hermit order to mendicants, serving the poor and relying chiefly on alms from the general public.    In 1254 he was elected Superior-General of his Order.

The Feast Day of Saint Simon Stock is May 16.

Saint Simon Stock is honored here at the Shrine, which is visited by over 200,000 pilgrims each year.

The Priory is open daily year round.


About the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Brown Scapular:

The life of Simon Stock took on an additional dimension when, on July 16, 1251, Our Lady appeared to Saint Simon Stock as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  She handed him the brown woolen scapular as a sign of protection for all her children, stating that whoever wore it devoutly would be assured of eternal salvation.

Her words were:  “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.”

The Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on July 16.


There several other shrines to Mount Carmel around the world, including Chile, as well as the U.S.A. ( Dallas, TexasSandoval, Texas).

About the Priory at Aylesford:

Outside the Shrine of St. Simon Stock (photo courtesy Aylesford Abbey)
Outside the Shrine of St. Simon Stock (photo courtesy Aylesford Abbey)

The Priory here dates from the 13th Century when a Crusader returning from the Holy Land gave land to a group of Carmelite Friars. The Friars themselves came from Mount Carmel in the Holy Land and encountered many obstacles upon arriving at their new home.

The suppression of the Catholic Faith in the 15th & 16th Centuries, after the reign of King Henry VIII, drove the Friars from the Priory for several centuries, but they returned in 1948, and the old buildings have been restored and a new roadside chapel has been built.

The priory is perhaps the best preserved in all of England.



The Friary is now a main center for pilgrimages and retreats.  The Priory has 80 bedrooms available in their guest house set within the grounds.  All guests are welcome to join the Carmelite Community at any of the daily services.

Traveling to Aylesford Priory:

Address: Aylesford, Kent ME20 7BX, United Kingdom

GPS coordinates: 51° 18′ 10.1016” N, 0° 28′ 15.5964” E

Tel: +44 1622 717272

e-mail: enquiry@thefriars.org.uk

Click here for the official website of Aylesford Priory (Great photos and lots of information)

A few other shrines to Our Lady of Mount Carmel at:

Cristoval, Texas:  Mount Carmel Hermitage

Dallas, Texas: Mount Carmel Retreat Center

Middletown, New York:  National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel


⇐ Back to Catholic shrines & places of interest in the United Kingdom

4 thoughts on “Aylesford Priory, England: Retreat Center and Shrine of Saint Simon Stock”

  1. Good Evening,
    We are two French pilgrims.
    Could you please tell me if the Corpse of Saint Simon Stock is there and how to find an accommodation at a reasonable price from the 15 to the 17 of July please ?
    In Xto and Maria.
    Best regards,
    Marc Boutellier

  2. “St.Simon Smallin, 13th Century England… Because he had set his feet on this ground”
    The above was given to me in a vision yesterday. This saint fits in most. I’m 56, a family physician running BVM HOSPITAL as a private facility in Lagos Nigeria. Of all my searches, your centre calms my spirit most. We will pray more to understand OUR LADY better. Thanks.

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