Maronite Monk and Hermit (1828-1898)
+ Joseph Makhluf was born in the mountains of Lebanon and worked as a shepherd after his father’s death. Despite these challenges, he learned to read and write, served Mass, and sang in the village church choir.
+ In 1851, he entered the monastery of Our Lady of Maifouk, receiving the religious name “Sharbel.” He professed vows in 1853 and was ordained a priest in 1859.
+ Having transferred to the monastery at Anaya, he received permission to live as a hermit. He lived in solitude for twenty-three years preparing for, celebrating, and giving thanks for his daily Mass. Countless people came to him, seeking his advice and prayers.
+ Father Sharbel suffered a stroke while celebrating Mass and died on Christmas Eve 1898. He was canonized in 1977 and has come to be especially honored for the many miracles attributed to his intercession.
For prayer and reflection
“Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find mercy in the sight of God.
For great is the power of the Lord;
by the humble he is glorified.”—Sirach 3:18 and 20
On this day we also remember Blessed Cristóbal of St. Catherine Lopez de Valladolid Orea. Trained as a nurse, he later became a priest and member of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. He later established a new community—the Hospitallers of Jesus the Nazarene—for the spiritual and physical care of the sick. Blessed Cristóbal died on July 21, 1690, of cholera which he contracted while caring for the sick. He was beatified in 2013.
O God, who called the Priest Saint Sharbel Makhluf
to the solitary combat of the desert
and imbued him with all manner of devotion,
grant us, we pray,
that, being made imitators of the Lord’s Passion,
we may merit to be co-heirs of his Kingdom.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.