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Charbel Makhlouf was born in the mountains of Northern Lebanon May 8, 1828.  He was their fifth child and at an early age was attracted to prayer and solitude.  At the age of 23 he entered the Monastery of St. Maroun despite his family’s opposition.  He was ordained in 1859 and spent 16 years at Annaya before receiving permission to retire to the nearby hermitage of Sts. Peter and Paul.  Only exceptional monks were given permission and it took seven years for Sharbel to receive it.  He was given a request to prepare an urgent report and sat down at night to work on it.  His lamp had run out of oil.  One of the monastery’s lay servants was asked to fill it for him.  The servant filled it with water as a joke, but was amazed to see that the lamp lit up and continued to burn brightly.  Being advised of this, the Superior removed the lamp and checked it for himself.  He found that it was so.  He took this as a sign from above that Charbel was ready to live the life of a hermit.  It was an extremely hard life, one of severe mortification.  He had a remarkable devotion to the Eucharist, spent hours preparing to say Mass, and hours afterward in thanksgiving.  In 1898 Charbel suffered a massive stroke while saying Mass and died on Christmas Eve, eight days later.  He was 70 years old.  He was buried in the monastery cemetery without a coffin as was the custom.  Many mysterious things happened around the area where he was buried.  His body was exhumed several times and was found to be incorruptible.  Many miracles were accorded to Sharbel.  He was finally buried in a wooden coffin in the monastery chapel.  Years later he was transferred to a new tomb and again his body was still incorruptible.

FEAST DAY:  July 24

PATRON OF:  The Order of Sharbel

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