Written by Badawi Habaq
Translated by Rabab Housseiny
NNA - From Bekaa Kafra, the highest village in mountainous Lebanon, where visitors can smell the scent of sacredness and faith, the whiff of Saint Charbel, the humble Lebanese monk whose miracles spread worldwide, prevails.
This village, overlooking Qannoubine Valley, stays awake as pilgrims keep flocking, day and night, to pray for Saint Charbel, who was born on May 8, 1828.
Three stages recapitulate the Saint's life. As a matter of fact, he had spent the first 23 years of his life with his family, before moving to the Covent for another 23-year period. He finally settled inside Annaya's hermitage for 23 years, in utter solitude, united with God.
The Lebanese Maronite Congregation decided to buy the family house of Saint Charbel, after light sparkled from his tomb and his miracles multiplied.
Ever since, monks who had decided to devote their lifetime for prayers and asceticism, live in the Covent.
Today, the premises have become a sanctuary for faithful seeking prayers and meditation.
This is the result of dauntless efforts exerted by the Covent's Chief, Father Johnny Saba, and his priests.
It was thanks to Father Saba that four halls in the Covent were inaugurated.
The first hall is the Church of the Saints' Relics, comprising the relics of Saint Charbel, Saint Rafqa, Saint Neemtallah Kassab al-Hardini, and Saint Estefan Neemeh.
The second hall is known as "Saint Charbel Hall," where visitors can take note of Saint Charbel's first miracle; Charbel was still alive when workers at the Covent exchanged oil with water inside a lantern. However, the lantern was lit, in a miracle that the Covent's chief confirms.
Inside the lantern, blood of Saint Charbel and water are found. Moreover, a rocky wall inside the hall highlights the Saint's miracles.
The third hall constitutes a museum showing utensils that were used at the time.
The fourth hall is that of the Last Supper where rocky statues sculptured by artist Nayef Alwan embody Jesus Christ with his apostles having their last meal.
According to Father Saba, the Lebanese Maronite Congregation is seeking to build a special complex in honor of the Saint and his visitors.
"All this proves the deep spiritual meaning of Saint Charbel's sacredness," he said.