Biography of St. Sharbel
Yousef Antoun Maklouf was born on may 8, 1828, in the village of Bkaakafra (North Lebanon). He grew up in a religious family ans was raised in the Maronite Catholic Faith. He as inspired by the monastic form of life practiced by the solitary hermits of the monastery of St. Anthony-Kozhaya of the Lebanese Maronite Order, and early in his life, he desired to become a monk. He frequently withdrew to a grotto dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray and meditate as a young boy. People from his village called him 'the saint' for his piety and unwavering faith in Jesus Christ and his love and devition to the Blessed Mother.
In 1851, Yousef joined the Lebanese Maronite Order, choosing the name Charbel. After two years of academic and spiritual formation, Sharbel took his religious vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience on November 1, 1853 at St. Maron's Monastery in Annaya, Lebanon. Having completed theological studies under many teachers including St. Neenatallah Hardini, St. Sharbel was ordained a priest on July 23, 1859.
He spent 16 years as a monk in Annaya, Lebanon and formally requested to become a Hermit. The 'Miracle of the Lamp', which gave light despite it being filled iwth water, convinced St. Sharbel's superiors that his request was truly of Divine origin. On February 15, 1875, St. Sharbel entered the hermitage of Sts Peter and Paul affiliated with Monastery in Annaya, Lebanon where he consecrated himself to a life of prayer, worship and manual labor.
After 23 years in the hermitage, St. Sharbel went to rest in the Lord on Christmas Eve (December 24, 1898). After his burial, a light shone from his tomb and many miracles began taking place. Upon the approval of the Church, St. Sharbel's body was exhumed and was found to be incorrupt with perspiration of blood/water substance.
The news of the miraculous condition of St. Sharbel's body spread throughout the region and many flocked to Annaya seeking the intercession of the Saint. Many, many miracles took place and continue to take place through the intercession of St. Sharbel.
In 1965 at the conclusion of the Second Vatican council, St. Sharbel was beatified by Pope Paul VI and was the only person to be beatified at the end of this council. St. Sharbel was Canonized by the same Pope on October 9, 1977.
St. Sharbel has become well known throughout the entire world with multiple healings and miracles attributed to his intercession. Many people continue to seek St. Sharbel's prayers for healing of body and soul.
ST. SHARBEL, PRAY FOR US!