Feast day: July 24
In 1828, Charbel Makhluf was born Joseph Zaroun Makhluf in the village of Bekaa Kafra in northern Lebanon. His father died when Saint Charbel was three years old, and he was raised by his uncle. Charbel was very devout, even as a child, but his uncle did not approve of his pious behavior.
At the age of 23, Charbel ran away from home to become a member of the Monastery of Saint Maron, taking his final vows in 1853 and becoming ordained in 1859. For 23 years, from 1875 until his death in 1898, Saint Charbel fulfilled his dream of living as a prayerful hermit. He gained a reputation for profound holiness, and pilgrims regularly visited the loving and friendly Charbel.
One of his favorite sayings was "pray without ceasing." He had an extreme personal dedication to the Blessed Sacrament and was known to levitate during prayer. At the request of his superiors, Saint Charbel regularly and gladly traveled to nearby villages to administer the sacraments. He died on Christmas Eve, and many miracles have been directly attributed to his intercession.
He was canonized in 1977 by Pope Paul VI. This was an occasion for particular joy for the Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in union with the Catholic Church. In 2017, a special shrine in honor of Saint Charbel was erected in Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
(Image in public domain-70)