St. Charbel Makhlouf

Saint Charbel Makhlouf, was born on the 8th of May 1828 in Bekaa Kafra (North Lebanon). His parents were devout Maronite Christians. He was chirstened Joseph and grew up in a home of extraordinary piety. The family’s faith was so deep that it became a living part of their daily lives, with the rosary being the focal point of their prayer each evening.

Saint Charbel joined the Lebanese Maronite Order in 1851. He was Ordained a priest in 1859. He spent 16 years (1859–1875) in the
monastery of Annaya, praying and working in the fields. His profound love of God impelled him to success, and he became an exemplary model of diligence, humility and charity. The Maronites are particularly devoted to the Mother of God and most of their churches and monasteries are dedicated to her. St. Charbel prayed the following prayer to her: ‘O Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, intercede for me with your divine Son, that he may pardon my faults and receive from my poor
and sinful hands this sacrifice offered by my weakness upon this altar. I have confidence in your prayers, O most holy Mary.’

As he grew older, St. Charbel felt increasingly drawn to a life of total solitude where he could devote himself entirely to his daily Mass. It is here in a small stone circular building in the hermitage of Annaya that St. Charbel spend the next twenty three years.

While celebrating the Divine Liturgy on December 16, 1898, he collapsed at the altar suffering a stroke. For eight days he endured a prolonged mystical agony, calmly, silently and prayerfully. Saint Charbel kept repeating the prayer he could not finish in the Divine Liturgy: ‘O Father of truth, behold You Son, a victim to please you: deign to accept him because he suffered death for me and my justification. Behold the offering, receive it from my unworthy hands: may it appease you in my regards, and by it, may you forget the transgressions which I have committed in the sight of your majesty’ and repeating the names of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Saints Peter and Paul.

 He died on Christmas Eve, 1989 and was buried at the monastery during a howling blizzard that caused one of the monks to remark: ‘ Here we are, unable to endure this bitter cold. How could this father manage to live her twenty-three years, kneeling like a statue before the altar almost all day…’

Following his death, people started to report seeing a light exude from his tomb, this light persisted for forty five days and was eventually seen by the Moslem Regional Prefect who notified church authorities.

When St Charbels tomb was opened, the body was found to be totally incorrupt with a dew like perspiration of blood and water suffusing the entire body. When it was carefully wiped away, it quickly reappeared and within a few hours began dripping on the stone floor. 

On April 15, 1899, the Maronite Patriarch allowed the body to be transferred to a special coffin, which was placed in a new tomb, inside the monastery. Pilgrims began flocking to his tomb and praying for his intercession. God granted many of them physical healings and spiritual blessings.

Pope Paul VI declared him Blessed on December 5th 1965 and a saint on October 9th 1977.