Also known as: Joseph Zaroun Makhlouf
Son of a mule driver. Raised by an uncle who opposed the boy’s youthful piety. The boy’s favorite book was Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. At age 23 he snuck away to join the Baladite monastery of Saint Maron at Annaya where he took the name Charbel in memory of a 2nd century martyr. Professed his solemn vows in 1853. Ordained in 1859, becoming a heiromonk.
He lived as a model monk, but dreamed of living like the ancient desert fathers. Hermit from 1875 until his death 23 years later, living on the bare minimums of everything. Gained a reputation for holiness, and was much sought for counsel and blessing. He had a great personal devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and was known to levitate during his prayers. Briefly paralyzed for unknown reasons just before his death. Several post-mortem miracles attributed him, including periods in 1927 and 1950 when a bloody “sweat” flowed from his corpse. His tomb has become a place of pilgrimage for Lebanese and non-Lebanese, Christian and non-Christian alike.
8 May 1828 at Beka-Kafra, Lebanon as Joseph Zaroun Makhlouf
24 December 1898 at Annaya of natural causes
15 July 1965 by Pope Paul VI (decree of heroic virtues)
5 December 1965 by Pope Paul VI
9 October 1977 by Pope Paul VI