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Known as the 'Miracle Monk of Lebanon' by Lebanese Christians, Saint Charbel Makhlouf was born on May 8, 1828, as the fifth child of Antoun Zaarour Makhlouf and Brigitta Chidiac. The devout Maronite Catholic family lived in the Lebanese mountain village of Bekaa Kafra. As a youth, Saint Charbel Makhlouf was drawn to the exemplary lives of the saints and hermits. However, in 1851, at 23 years of age, Saint Charbel Makhlouf left home unannounced to join the Lebanese Maronite Order at the Monastery of Our Lady in Mayfouq. There, He received the habit of a monk and joined the religious Order in 1853. Now a monk, He took the name Charbel. Young Saint Charbel Makhlouf then went to the Monastery of Saints Cyprian and Justina in Kfifan, amidst the Batroun District of Lebanon, to study theology. He proved to be an excellent student, and after six years of study, He was ordained a priest on July 23, 1859. For the next 16 years, He lived a life of austere asceticism in the Saint Maron monastery. The young priest received hundreds of hungry refugees who sought shelter in the monastery. He gave them every aid possible as well as praying and fasting. Word soon spread about His deep devotion and piety. Today, we are very honored to invite Antonia to share some stories of Saint Charbel Makhlouf. "The Maronite Order is very much based on an image of God who is a very loving Father, who loves us very much, who wants us to be happy, but who we must seek. And we must look for Him (God) within ourselves. Saint Isaac said that our heart is like a metal mirror that must be continuously polished in order to reflect the Light of God. Saint Charbel and everyone in the Maronite Order with their very ascetic lifestyle, try to polish that mirror so that it can reflect God. In the Maronite Order, or in any other Catholic order, asceticism is not sought in itself for its own sake, but as a way of being, of purifying oneself to be able to love God and to be able to love one’s neighbor."