Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries. They built a chapel in the midst of their hermitages which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the “Lady of the place.” Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel also known as the Brown Scapular, a sacramental associated with promises of Mary’s special aid for the salvation of the devoted wearer. Traditionally, Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite named Saint Simon Stock. The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on 16 July. The solemn liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was probably first celebrated in England in the later part of the 14th century. Its object was thanksgiving to Mary, the patroness of the Carmelite Order, for the benefits she had accorded to it through its rocky early existence. The institution of the feast may have come in the wake of the vindication of their title “Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary” at Cambridge, England in 1374. The date chosen was July 17th; on the European mainland this date conflicted with the feast of St. Alexis, necessitating a shift to July 16th, which remains the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel throughout the Catholic Church. The Latin poem Flos Carmeli (meaning “Flower of Carmel”) first appears as the sequence for this Mass.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is known to many Catholic faithful as the “scapular feast,” associated with the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a devotional sacremental signifiying the wearer’s consecration to Mary and affiliation with the Carmelite Order. A tradition first attested to in the late 1300s says that Saint Simon Stock, an early prior general of the Carmelite Order, had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in which she gave him the Brown Scapular which formed part of the Carmelite habit, promising that those who died wearing the scapular would be saved. “Our Lady of Mount Carmel″ is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order, and the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (also known as the Brown Scapular), is the habit of that Order. In its small form, it is widely popular within the Catholic Church as a sacramental and has probably served as the prototype of all the other devotional scapulars. The liturgical feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, is popularly associated with devotion to the Scapular. According to the Vatican‘s Congregation for Divine Worship, the Brown Scapular is “an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
“This monastic scapular, like the whole monastic habit and indeed the liturgical vestments of the priest, developed from the ordinary clothing of the laity. And, just as the stole is the special sign of the priestly dignity and power, the scapular is now the sign of the monk. In the West, in the case of St. Benedict, the scapular was at first nothing else than a working garment or apron such as was then worn by agricultural labourers. Thus, in the Rule of St. Benedict, it was expressly termed “scapulare propter opera” (c. xxv in P.L. LXXVI, 771). From this developed the special monastic garment, to which a hood could be fastened at the back. In fact, the original scapular of the Dominican Order was so made that it acted also as a covering for the head, and thus as a hood. The scapular of the West corresponded to the analabus of the East. READ MORE
This feast was instituted by the Carmelites between 1376 and 1386 under the title “Commemoratio B. Marif Virg. duplex” to celebrate the victory of their order over its enemies on obtaining the approbation of its name and constitution from Honorius III on 30 Jan., 1226 (see Colvenerius, “Kal. Mar.”, 30 Jan. “Summa Aurea”, III, 737). The feast was assigned to 16 July, because on that date in 1251, according to Carmelite traditions, the scapular was given by the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock; it was first approved by Sixtus V in 1587. After Cardinal Bellarmine had examined the Carmelite traditions in 1609, it was declared the patronal feast of the order, and is now celebrated in the Carmelite calendar as a major double of the first class with a vigil and a privileged octave (like the octave of Epiphany, admitting only a double of the first class) under the title
“Commemoratio solemnis B.V.M. de Monte Carmelo“. By a privilege given by Clement X in 1672, some Carmelite monasteries keep the feast on the Sunday after 16 July, or on some other Sunday in July. In the seventeenth century the feast was adopted by several diocesis in the south of Italy, although its celebration, outside of Carmelite churches, was prohibited in 1628 by a decree contra abusus. On 21 Nov., 1674, however, it was first granted by Clement X to Spain and its colonies, in 1675 to Austria, in 1679 to Portugal and its colonies, and in 1725 to the Papal States of the Church, on 24 Sept., 1726, it was extended to the entire Latin Church by Benedict XIII. The lessons contain the legend of the scapular; the promise of the Sabbatine privilege was inserted into the lessons by Paul V about 1614. The Greeks of southern Italy and the Catholic Chaldeans have adopted this feast of the “Vestment of the Blessed Virgin Mary“. The object of the feast is the special predilection of Mary for those who profess themselves her servants by wearing her scapular (see CARMELITES).
Festeggiamenti Madonna del Carmelo detta delle Galline
Nella prima Domenica dopo Pasqua si svolge a Pagani (SA) la processione della “Madonna delle galline”. Parallelamente alla processione un gran numero di persone si riunisce nel paese per danzare e suonare fino a notte inoltrata. Questo curiosa festa religiosa, dal nome insolito, si rifà ad un episodio leggendario: un’effigie della Madonna, sotterrata anticamente per sottrarla alla temperie iconoclasta o alle scorribande saracene, fu rinvenuta grazie al ‘raspare’ di alcune galline. In realtà, si hanno notizie che già dal VII secolo i contadini Paganesi offrissero in dono delle galline come devozione alla Vergine. Al culto dell’immagine dette n forte impulso la guarigione di uno storpio avvenuta agli inizi del secolo XVII e attribuita all’intervento della Madonna delle Galline’. La processione attuale rinnova questo particolare connubio tra una civiltà fortemente agricola e la sua religiosità.
It is narrated that the most beautiful hens of Pagani, on the Sunday after Easter, spontaneously reach the Sanctuary in via Striani in the town’s center, giving start to the celebrations. The wooden statue, surrounded by peacocks, birds and faithful hens, is then brought in procession through the main streets. Music and dances, among which the “tammurriata”, as well as colored paper stripes decorate the ritual.
The devotees honour their Madonna with little altars and votive aedicules prepared for the occasion. In 1500 some hens scratching around recovered a wooden table on top of which there was an image of the Madonna del Carmine. The recovery of a crippled man as well as many other miracles increased so much the level of devotion towards the image that in 1610 a church was dedicated to it, and which afterwards became a Marian sanctuary. The baroque facade is decorated with columns and two allegorical statues. The doors held a bas-relief resembling the Madonna delle Galline.
La tradizione popolare racconta che nel secolo XVI, alcune galline, razzolando, portarono alla luce una piccola tavola lignea su cui era raffigurata la Madonna del Carmine. Era l´ottava di Pasqua. Il quadro fu forse sotterrato nell´ottavo-nono secolo , per sottrarlo alla distruzione della lotta iconoclasta , che vietò il culto delle immagini sacre, o anche alle feroci incursioni e razzie dei saraceni. Quest´immagine dopo il disseppellimento, fu conservata a lungo nel piccolo oratorio dell´Annunziatella, detto anche Spogliaturo, perché lì i confratelli , prima di accompagnare i morti alla sepoltura, si svestivano dei loro abiti per indossare quelli prescritti dal rito. Certamente lo stato di deperimento del quadro rese necessaria la sua riproduzione su tela e ciò dovette avvenire nei primi anni del 1600 , quando, a seguito del primo miracolo ad opera della sacra immagine (l´improvvisa guarigione di uno storpio) , ne seguirono in poco tempo ben altri sette.
Si infervorò così nel popolo la devozione verso la Madonna del Carmine e nel 1610, accanto all´oratorio dell´Annunziatella, si iniziò la costruzione della chiesa a lei dedicata, che dalla metà del secolo XVIII è conosciuta anche come Madonna delle galline. Nel 1954 è stata elevata a Santuario Mariano.
Gravemente danneggiata dal sisma del 1980, è stata poi restaurata e riportata al suo splendore . La facciata seicentesca, in stile barocco, alta e culminante nel frontone piramidale, è abbellita da colonne, decorazioni in stucco e due statue allegoriche- la Pudicizia( a sinistra) e la speranza ( a destra).
Sul portale spicca il bassorilievo raffigurante la madonna del Carmelo con in braccio il bambino, seduta su di un nugolo di nuvole e nell´atto di essere incoronata da due angioletti.