Capuchin Franciscan Priest: (1875-1954)
+ Khalil Al-Haddad was born in Gazīr, Lebanon, and was raised in the Maronite Rite. He studied Arabic languages, French, and Syriac in the College de La Sageese in Beirut.
+ In 1892, he traveled to Egypt to teach Arabic at the Christian Brothers’ College in Alexandria and it was there he began to feel a strong call to religious life. He entered the Capuchin Franciscans the following year, receiving the name Ya’Qūb (Jacques) in honor of the Franciscan Saint James of the March.
+ Ya’Qūb was ordained a priest in 1901 and was assigned to serve as the financial manager of five friaries and later established numerous churches, hospitals, schools, and orphanages. From 1903 to 1914 he served as an itinerant preacher and was called “the Apostle of Lebanon.” He was revered for his spirit of charity and was often compared to Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint John Bosco.
+ In 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, the French Capuchins were forced to leave Lebanon and their missions were entrusted to Father Ya’Qūb. In 1919, he established a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea north of Beirut and introduced the Franciscan Third Order in Lebanon.
+ Father Ya’Qūb founded a new community of sisters in 1930: the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross, to care for the elderly and disabled.
+ Honored by both Church and civil leaders for his tireless work, Father Ya’Qūb died on June 26, 1954, of leukemia. His final words were “The Cross of God: the love of my heart.” He left behind more than 10,000 pages of spiritual writings and was beatified in 2008.
Saint James of the March, the patron saint of Blessed Ya’Qūb, was a Franciscan priest who traveled throughout Europe as a preacher and teacher. He is especially remembered for his strong defense of the faith against various heretical groups and his desire for unity within the Church. His memory is celebrated on November 28.
“He who loves Jesus loves the Cross, and who loves the Cross resembles Jesus.”—Blessed Ya’Qūb
O God, by whose gift blessed Ya’Qūb persevered in imitating Christ, poor and lowly, grant us through his intercession that, faithfully walking in our own vocation, we may reach the perfection you have set before us in your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Religious)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.