Saint Sharbel (Charbel) Makhlouf was also known as Youssef Antoun Makhlouf. He was born on May 8 1828 in Bekaa Kafra, North Governorate, Lebanon, and died on December 24 1898 at Monastery of Saint Maron in Annaya, Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon. He was a Maronite monk, a priest and a hermit. His feast day is celebrated on July 24 every year in the Catholic Church. The Maronites, however, celebrate his feast day on the 3rd Sunday in July.
|Saint Sharbel Makhlūf, Priest, Hermit Biography|
|Date of Birth||May 8 1828|
|Place of Birth||Bekaa Kafra, North Governorate, Lebanon|
|Profession||Monk, priest, and hermit|
|Place of Work||Monastery of St. Maron Annaya, Jbeil District, Lebanon|
|Date of Death||December 24 1898|
|Place of Death||Monastery of St. Maron Annaya, Jbeil District, Lebanon|
|Feast Day||July 24|
|Beatification||By Pope Paul VI on December 5 1965 in Vatican City|
|Canonization||By Pope Paul VI on October 9 1977 in Vatican City|
|Patron Saint of||Lebanon|
Saint Sharbel Makhluf Life History
St Sharbel Youssef Antoun Makhlouf’s father was called Antoun Zaarour Makhlouf and his mother was Brigitta Chidiac. He had four other siblings They lived in the village of Bekaa Kafra.
His father was a muleteer and died when Sharbel was just 3 years old in August 1831. Sharbel’s mother was later remarried by a pious man who became a parish priest of the village and they raised the family in Christian ways.
Makhlouf was fascinated by the lives of his two uncles who were hermits at the St Antonious Kozhaya monastery. When he was tending to the family’s flock, he would go to a grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary that he had installed and prayed.
At the age of 23 years in 1851, Makhlouf entered the Monastery of Our Lady in Mayfouq and joined the Maronite Order, and begun training as a monk, He later transferred to the Monastery of St Maron in Annaya near Beirut. He became a monk on November 1 1853 and took the name Charbel. Charbel was a 2nd-century Christian martyr in Antioch.
Immediately after becoming a monk, Sharbel began his priesthood studies at the Monastery of Saints Cyprian & Justina in Kfifan in Lebanon. Saint Nimatullah Youssef Kassab Al-Hardini was one of his professors at the seminary. He studied for six years and on July 23 1859 he was ordained as a priest and was posted back to St Maron Monastery. , where he lived a life of severe asceticism in the monastery.
Makhlouf lived a very austere life as a monk and as a priest. In 1875, the abbot of his monastery granted him permission to live as a hermit at the Saints Peter and Paul Chapel still under the monastery. For the next 23 years, he lived in that Hermitage alone until December 24 1898 when he died of stroke.
After Saint Sharbel Makhluf died on the eve of Christmas, his body was buried at St Maron’s Monastery the following day on Christmas Day. It is reported that on that Christmas eve there was a very heavy snowfall and very dark, but when they began carrying him the weather cleared and the clouds disappeared.
It is said that a few months after his death, people saw a bright light surrounding his tomb. After opening his tomb, a blood-like fluid flowed from his body. Years later in 1950, 1952, 1955 and 1965, his tomb was opened and his body was still found incorrupt. It was in 1976 that when the tomb was opened, the body was found completely decomposed and only the skeleton remained.
There are several miracles that are attributed to Saint Sharbel Makhluf that formed the basis of his beatification and canonization. They are:
- The healing of Mariam Awad from Hammana
- The healing of Iskandar Naim Obeid from Baabdat
- The healing of Sister Mary Abel Kamari of the Sacred Hearts
Healing of Nohad El Shami, a 55-year-old woman from partial paralysis. Nohad says that in a dream on January 22 1993, she saw Saint Sharbel Makhluf and another monk by her bedside. They operated on her and when she woke up she found two wounds in her neck and she was completely healed and was able to walk again.
The following night Saint Sharbel reappeared to her and said that the reason he did the surgery was to let people see and return to faith. He instructed her to always, for the rest of her life, visit the hermitage on the 22nd of every month and attend mass regularly. This made people to begin gathering at the hermitage of Saint Charbel in Annaya on the 22nd of every month to pray and celebrate Mass.
Saint Sharbel Makhluf Birth
He was born on May 8 1828 in Bekaa Kafra, North Governorate, Lebanon. His father was called Antoun Zaarour Makhlouf and his mother was Brigitta Chidiac.
Saint Sharbel Makhluf Death
He died of stroke on December 24 1898 at the age of 70 at the Monastery of Saint Maron Annaya, Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon
In 1925, the process for his beatification was started by Pope Pious XI. Saint Sharbel Makhluf was beatified on December 5 1965 by Pope Paul VI at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. He reiterated that Saint Sharbel Makhluf should remind us of the value of penance, asceticism and poverty as opposed to being fascinated by the affluence and extravagance of this world.
Saint Sharbel Makhluf was canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 9 1977 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.
Major Shrines and Monastery
- Monastery of Saint Maron in Annaya, Byblos District, Lebanon
- The Shrine of Charbel Makhlouf at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Lebanon
Saint Sharbel Makhluf Feast Day
His feast day is celebrated on July 24 every year in the Catholic Church. The Maronites, however, celebrate his feast day on the 3rd Sunday in July.
Saint Sharbel Makhluf is the Patron Saint of
He is the Patron saint of Lebanon
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