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Flos Carmeli

Carmelite chant to Our Lady of Carmel

Flos Carmeli (Flower of Carmel) is a medieval chant and Carmelite sequence for the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel on July 16 (1).

The Carmelites, whose Order was founded by St. Elias, tell the story of this chant (2):

"The Flos Carmeli is a Carmelite hymn and prayer. Flos Carmeli is Latin for 'Flower of Carmel' and was first used as the sequence for the Feast of St. Simon Stock. Beginning in 1663 it became the sequence for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. It is said to have been written by St. Simon Stock himself (c. 1165 – 1265). The prayer is taken from the first two stanzas of the sequence.

"Oral tradition tells of St. Simon Stock praying with a passionate intensity to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel during a time of great distress and hardship for the Order. With fervor and faith, he prayed for the first time the Flos Carmeli prayer which he wrote. And Our Lady answered that prayer. Thus, for seven centuries the Flos Carmeli continues to be prayed to the Blessed Mother with the firm faith that she will answer its request with her powerful help." (2)

Since the chant mentions the Scapular, it is helpful to know the origin of the Scapular and the establishment of the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel, explained by Dom Guéranger:

"In the night between the 15th and 16th of July of the year 1251, the gracious Queen of Carmel confirmed to her sons [the Carmelites] by a mysterious sign the right of citizenship she had obtained for them in their newly adopted countries. As Mistress and Mother of the entire religious state she conferred upon them with her queenly hands the Scapular, hitherto the distinctive garb of the greatest and most ancient religious family of the West. On giving St. Simon Stock this badge, ennobled by contact with her sacred fingers, the Mother of God said to him: 'Whosever shall die in this habit shall not suffer eternal flames.'" (3)

Later, Our Lady appeared to James d'Euse, future John XXII, and revealed to him "the privilege she obtained from her Divine Son for her children of Carmel – a speedy deliverance from purgatory. 'I, their Mother will graciously go down to them on the Saturday after their death, and all whom I find in Purgatory I will deliver and will bring to the mountain of life eternal.'" (4)

Dom Guéranger continues: "Who shall tell the graces, often miraculous, obtained through this humble garb? Who could count the faithful not enrolled in the Holy Militia? When Benedict XIII, in the 18th century, extended the feast of July 16 to the whole Church, he did but give an official sanction to the universality already gained by the cultus of the Queen of Carmel." (5)

Flos Carmeli is here interpreted by the Krakow Province of the Discalced Carmelites.

Note: Only verses 1-5 are sung in the recording (the sung text is below in color navy), but we have included the entire text and translation below.

Listen to Flos Carmeli performed by the Krakow Discalced Carmelites


Latin text:

1. Flos carmeli,
Vitis florigera,
Splendor caeli,
Virgo puerpera

2. Mater mitis,
Sed viri nescia,
Esto propitia,
Stella maris.

3. Radix Jesse
Germinans flosculum,
Nos adesse
Tecum in saeculum

4. Inter spinas
Quae crescis lilium
Serva puras
Mentes fragilium

5. Armatura
Fortis pugnantium
Furunt bella
Tende praesidium

6. Per incerta
Prudens consilium
Per adversa
Juge solatium

7. Mater dulcis
Carmeli Domina,
Plebem tuam
Reple laetitia
Qua bearis.

8. Paradisi
Clavis et janua
Fac nos duci
Quo, Mater, gloria


English translation (6):

1. Flower of Carmel,
Flourishing vine,
Splendor of Heaven,
Virgin after having delivered Child
[Thou art] without equal.

2. Gentle Mother,
But knowing not man,
To the Carmelites
Bestow thy favor,
Star of the Sea.

3. Root of Jesse
Giving life to a little Flower
Grant us
[That], with thee for all ages,
[We might] be.

4. Among the thorns,
Thou makest lilies grow,
Conserve in purity
Fragile minds
Protect them.

5. Armor
Of strength for those who fight
[With] wars raging
Give us the Protection
Of thy Scapular.

6. In uncertainty
Prudent counsel,
In adversity
Abundant solace,
[Grant us] in generous proportion.

7. Sweet Mother,
Lady of Carmel,
Fill thy people
With the [same] joy
Which thou possesseth.

8. [Of] paradise
Its key and gate,
Let us be led
Where, Thou, Mother, in glory
Art crowned.


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Dum pater familias


For a high-resolution JPG version, click here.

For a PDF version, click here.

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Our Lady of Carmel presents the Scapular to St. Simon Stock,
Tympanum relief from 1924 neo-gothic façade,
Church of the Most Holy Sacrament and St. Thérèse, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Photo by Eugenio Hansen, OFS, taken from Wikimedia.

  1. Courtesy of Church of St. Joseph, Troy, NY, here.
  2. Courtesy of the Carmelite Sisters of Los Angeles, here.
  3. Dom Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, St. Bonaventure Publications, 2000 (reprint of 1949), vol. 13, p.115.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid., p. 116.
  6. English translation adapted from the Portuguese here and French here.
  7. Sheet music courtesy of GregoBase, here.


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