Saint Charbel Makhlouf
1828 - 1898
Canonised a Saint by Pope Paul VI
October 9, 1977
Who is Saint Charbel Makhlouf?
He was born May 8, 1828 in the little village
of Biqa-Kafra which is situated in the high mountains of northern Lebanon.
His parents were poor and he was the last of five children. He was baptised
with the name of "Joseph".
He was raised in a very devout family which
fostered piety and love for God. He was a prayerful youth who from his
early years learned to detach himself from worldly vanities. He enjoyed
his solitude which he used to pray and think about God.
When he was twenty-three years old he decided
to leave home to discover his religious vocation as a monk and hermit.
The Lebanese Maronite Order was founded
in Lebanon in 1695 and approved by Pope Clement XII in 1732.
|He went to the Monastery
of Our Lady of Mayfouk at the north of Jebeil. He stayed there for some
time until he was transferred to the Monastery of Saint Maroun at Annaya
of the Lebanese Maronite Order. He continued his Novitiate until 1853 when
he vowed himself to Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, and choosing the name
"Charbel". His vocation was soon to be tested by trial. There were some
persons who felt that he did not have a vocation.
His mother and certain members of his family
decided that he should return home to his family. They begged him to leave
the Monastery -- but he refused firmly and persevered in his vocation.
Saint Charbel professed his solemn monastic vows. His Superiors decided
to send him to the Monastery of Kfifan. He continued to study theological
subjects. He was ordained a priest in 1859. After his ordination he was
sent back to the Monastery of Saint Maroun in Annaya. Already he was known
for his humility and fidelity to his duty. His lived the virtues like an
Angel and was heroic through his perfect obedience, poverty and chastity.
He spent the next
sixteen years of his priestly life at Saint Maroun's. His Superiors discerned
that he had the vocation to live the life of a hermit which he so ardently
desired. His mortification and self-denial were an edification to all.
Consequently, in 1875 Saint Charbel moved into the hermitage of St. Peter
and St. Paul located on the property of the Monastery about one mile away.
Saint Charbel had the vocation from God
to live his religious life as a hermit. The purpose of religious life is
the sanctification of one's soul through faith, hope and charity. It is
no different for the hermit. The means are prayer, manual work, fasting,
and detachment from oneself. All of this to an heroic degree. For twenty-three
years, Saint Charbel lived the life of a hermit until he died on December
Devotion to the Holy Eucharist and to the Mother
Saint Charbel was a priest for 39 years during
which he celebrated the Holy Mass every day. He took a long time to prepare
for Holy Mass; and afterwards he remained in thanksgiving for as long as