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St. Charbel, the heavenly doctor who never stops working!

Mireille Haj-Chahine

Friday, December 22, 2023

Statue and mosaic icon of St. Charbel at the monastery of Saint Maronin, Annaya, Lebanon. © Salt + Light Media, 2023.
Faithful to God, I want to share with those around me the wonder of His glory, through the intercession of St. Charbel the humble servant, to the world that prays to Him. For several years now, I've been wearing the St. Charbel medal around my neck. People react strongly when they see the medal around their neck and say to me: "We know who it is, but ....." And it’s a great occasion to explain to them who St. Charbel is! I'm filled with joy and give thanks to God when I explain who he is to people I meet along the way. St. Charbel wants to be present when we go to meet him; he gives us an appointment and confirms it: "I'm with you every 22nd of the month .... and all the time." He often helps me to share, more and more, the stories and testimonies I've experienced and told.
St. Charbel says, "I am with you. I intercede with God for all those who pray for me, until the end of time." These words do not leave me indifferent. I’ve felt that, over the years, I have personally experienced the grace of reciting prayers for intercession in my life, taking part in his customary devotions. These devotions include a procession on the 22nd of each month, and  meditation and songs on his feast day of July 24 at the Monastery of Saint-Antoine le Grand in Outremont. Quebec. I have also had grace-filled experiences participating online in  songs and prayers from Annaya, Noursat, and other parts of Lebanon.
St. Charbel is an extraordinary saint. He was born as Youssef Makhlouf to a modest farming family on May 8, 1828 in Bekaakafra, mountaintop Maronite village. He lost his father at the age of three, leaving his mother to bring him up with her other children and instill in him a deep faith. As a shepherd, he often took advantage of his flock's rest to take refuge in a grotto and pray to the Virgin Mary. Attracted to monastic life from an early age, he entered the monastery of Notre-Dame de Mayfouk of the Lebanese Maronite Order (OLM) when he was twenty years old. He chose the name Charbel, after an illustrious martyr of the Antioch Church at the time. He stood out for his generosity in accepting all the work he was asked to do, and did it gladly. Five years later, Brother Charbel took his vows and studied theology at Saint Cyprian's Convent in Kfifan. Ordained a priest in 1859 in Bkerké, he spent 16 years at the Saint Maron monastery in Annaya. He sought to retire to a hermitage at the age of 47, but his superiors found it difficult to accept his request. Together, they prayed to the Lord to give them a sign. That very night, they noticed a light under the door of Fr. Charbel's room. This lamp was filled with water instead of oil, but it still burned normally and lit up the whole room.
The morning after the incredible sign, on February 15 1875, Fr. Charbel obtained permission from his superior to retire to the hermitage of St. Peter and St. Paul near the monastery. His love of the Lord always drove him to be as close to Him and as united with Him as possible, and away from the noisy world and its fleeting temptations. He led a life of prayer and penance for 23 years, until his death on Christmas Eve, December 24 1898. On December 16 of the same year, during Mass, Charbel was stricken with paralysis. He lay dying for eight days, but continually he was repeating the words of the Mass, including "Abou tkoshto" in Syriac language; that means “O HOLY FATHER.
Fr. Charbel remained for long hours in adoration, almost continuously on his knees. He would go into a state of recollection, absorbed in deep meditation. He spoke only when he had to give a strict, friendly answer to a question that had just been put to him. He always walked silently, his gaze downcast and his face hidden. He helped everyone anyway he could, and acted cheerfully. According to the readings, St. Charbel's life bore many similarities to that of Padre Pio, with abundant grace, miracles and divine intercession.
St. Charbel's whole life shone with holiness, and illustrates his closeness to the Lord right up to his last breath. The grace by which he performed miracles could only have its source in a humble, clear life marked by penance and prayer.  
Some facts to contemplate: 
  • In 1950, St. Charbel's tomb was opened and his body put on display for visitors who flocked to take a look and, above all, a blessing. Miracles around the tomb abounded that year.    
  • St. Charbel was beatified on December 5, 1965. 
  • Pope Paul VI celebrated his canonization on December 9, 1977, at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. 
  • St. Charbel is the patron saint of Lebanon. In the Maronite Church, his feast is celebrated on the third Sunday in July. In the Latin Church, his feast is July 24.
  • One of St. Charbel's most extraordinary miracles was that of Mrs. Nohad El-Chami in 1993. (I'll save the rest for January 2024.)

Annaya Miracles

The following are examples of recent miracles performed by St. Charbel, recorded in the Register of Miracles in Annaya, Lebanon, each bearing a number. According to the procedure established at the Annaya convent, the names of the miraculous are listed along with their date of birth, profession, full info and a brief description of their state of health attached to each person's medical reports and presented to the Father Superior. (Translated from
One miracle was recorded on December 3, 2023.
Mrs. Thérèse Youssef Al-Khoury Fahd. Having severe head pain, she began to forget and not concentrate. She was admitted to hospital on November 16, and underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The result showed a large circular brain tumor. On the recommendation of another specialist, she underwent another MRI at another university hospital. After this, the doctors recommended surgery on her head to eradicate the disease. Mrs Fahd was very frightened and went to visit the shrine of St. Charbel in Annaya. She asked the Lord Jesus Christ for his intercession. She swallowed earth from his grave, drank oil, and took a blessing. With faith and trust, she prayed to St. Charbel to intercede for her and heal her. On her return from the shrine, she went into hospital and underwent a new MRI scan. The result showed that the circular tumor had disappeared and become rectangular, as if it were a brain artery. It now looks like a natural artery, and Mrs. Fahd no longer needs surgery, as the healing has been done. She visits with her family to thank St. Charbel, the heavenly doctor.
Another miracle recorded on December 5, 2023, the 58th anniversary of St. Charbel's beatification in 1965.
Mrs. Hoda Antoine Chalhoub Her CT scan showed the presence of cancer. A biopsy was then taken to check the quality and degree of the disease, and to determine the date for a transplant. She visited St. Charbel and asked him in faith to intercede for her before the Lord Jesus Christ and heal her. She took a blessing from St. Charbel's tomb, drank oil and at night smelled incense. The result of her biopsy showed that the cancer cells had disappeared from the lungs, contrary to what was confirmed by the tests and X-rays at the beginning. Since then, she intends to visit St. Charbel with her family and thank him for the grace of healing.
More recently, two miracles were recorded on December 10, 2023 
  1. Mr. Christ Élie Goros, who’s suffering from kidney problems. After two years of examinations, and imploring St. Charbel, a test showed that his kidneys were cured, and that he no longer needed an imminent transplant, as his recovery was complete. He and his family went to Annaya to thank St. Charbel for his intercession.
  2. Mr. Jihad Anthony Tony Corban, Jihad Corban, a boy of two years and three months, had trouble speaking, leading his parents to suspect that there was a hearing problem. Two specialists recommended that he would have to wear prostheses for life. At night, Jihad's father wiped his ear with St. Charbel's oil. The next morning, the little boy began to say new words he'd never uttered before. Later, during a clinical examination, his hearing returned to its natural state and is very good thanks to St. Charbel's oils. The family thanked St. Charbel for his intercession on behalf of their son Jihad before the Lord Jesus Christ, and for the grace of his healing.

A source of inspiration

St. Charbel is a great source of inspiration for me because of his humility, his uprightness, his just and strict conduct, the support he offers for the love of the Lord above all else, the devotion he showed to the Virgin Mary during his life, and his aspiration to rise higher and higher away from the worldly noise and temptations that separate him from God. I am inspired by the thread that lead him to be very close to God and in union with Him. I'm amazed by the hours and hours spent praying on his knees, sleeping on wood and adopting the means that bring about a desired penitence. St. Charbel is a model to follow; for him, the way to heaven is to look upwards, not downwards. St. Charbel is the heavenly physician who will heal the sick, whereas a traditional doctor will prescribe medicines. This is one reason why I advise people I meet to pray to him with confidence without hesitation, to visit him in a nearby shrine and to thank him when they obtain a grace.
The frequency of St. Charbel's miracles is increasing at an astonishing rate, all over the world. He intercedes for anyone in search of Light, of a healing that restores hope, taste and joy in life. He doesn't limit himself to people from his own country, nor does he pick and choose. His miracles touch the whole world, from Europe, to Canada and the USA, and as far away as Australia. Faithful flock to him from every corner of the globe and every religion, asking him to intercede for them. His icon is in numerous churches, chapels, and shrines. Two Canadian examples are the sanctuary of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré in Quebec City, and the Monastery of Saint-Antoine le Grand, in Outremont, Quebec, home to the relics of St. Charbel and the three other saints of the Lebanese Maronite Order (OLM). I invite all readers to visit St. Charbel and pray that he may intercede for them. Let's pray that the Glory of God, which comes through St. Charbel, and that His grace remains with us.

Prayer to ask for St. Charbel's intercession

God, infinitely holy and glorified in your saints,
You who inspired the holy monk and hermit Charbel to live and die in perfect likeness to Jesus, granting him the strength to detach himself from the world in order to make the heroism of the monastic virtues triumph in his hermitage: poverty, obedience, and chastity, we beg you to grant us the grace to love and serve you following his example.
Almighty Lord, who manifested the power of St. Charbel's intercession through numerous miracles and favours, grant us the grace (...) that we implore through his intercession.
Visit for more prayers and inspiring stories!
Amazed by the Glory of God, the Father, and His great love for us, I can confidently say that He has sent us St. Charbel, this saint who wants to be close to us, wants to intercede for us, and be our heavenly doctor! 
Happy birthday to St. Charbel in Heaven!
(To be continued …. on January 21, 2024)

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