Model of Poverty, Penance, and Asceticism. 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. Many people came to him for advice and prayers.
+ In 1898, Sharbel suffered a stroke while celebrating Mass and died on Christmas Even. He was canonized in 1977 and his commemoration was extended to the Universal Church in 2002.
For prayer and reflection
“A hermit of Mount Lebanon is enrolled in the number of the blessed… a new eminent member of monastic sanctity has by his example and his intercession enriched the entire Christian people … may he make us understand, in a world largely fascinated by wealth and comfort, the paramount value of poverty, penance and asceticism, to liberate the soul in its ascent to God.”—Pope Saint Paul VI
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,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.