On the 17th of July 2021, “The Family of Saint Sharbel” in the US celebrated the Feast of Saint Sharbel at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Emmitsburg, Maryland, one of the most prominent Catholic shrines in the US.
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The Family of Saint Sharbel, USA, celebrated the Feast of Saint Sharbel at the National Shrine Grotto, on Saturday, July 17, 2021.
On July 17, The Maronite Church celebrates the feast of Saint Marina.
As a monk she was known by the name Marinos. Although young, Marinos occupied himself with the practice of monastic virtues with utmost spirit and minuteness. He was silent and reticent with bowed head and eyes, making of his cowl a veil concealing the features of his face and eyes.
One day he was sent to a neighboring town on a mission for the Monastery. He was obliged to spend the night at the house of a friend of the monks named Paphnotius. Paphnotius had a young girl who had fallen into adultery and was found pregnant. Upon finding out, her father was enraged and demanded the name of the perpetrator. His daughter told him that Marinos the Monk had raped her the night he spent in their house. Her father went straight to the Monastery and told the Superior, who was surprised for he knew that Marinos is a pious and pure man.
The Superior called Marinos and scolded him, but Marinos said nothing to defend himself. Consequently, the Superior was very perplexed and considered Marinos’ silence to be an admission of guilt. He then sentenced Marinos to dismissal and to be thrown outside the Monastery. Marinos resigned himself to the will of God and stayed at the door of the Monastery praying and crying, living off the leftovers of the monks’ food. His father had long since died.
When the daughter delivered, the grandfather brought the child, a boy, to the Monastery and threw him to Marinos saying: “take and raise your son.”
Marinos took the boy and began raising him with what the monks used to bring to him of goat milk and of leftovers from their table. This situation lasted four years. Marinos carried the shame of this hideous accusation without any complaints. However, the Superior had compassion for him and let him enter the Monastery under very strict conditions. Marinos accepted while shedding the tears of repentance.
Marinos persevered in his ascetic work until the hour of his death when the features of his face glowed with a heavenly light. He asked forgiveness from all and he forgave all those who sinned against him. He then gave up his spirit.
The Superior then ordered that his body be prepared for burial outside the Monastery. It was a great moment of astonishment when the monks found that Marinos was a woman and not a man. The Superior and the monks fell on their knees before the pure cadaver, asking God and the soul of the holy saint forgiveness.
As for the father of the sinful daughter, he was ashamed and came to make his statement before everyone. As for the daughter, she spent her life crying and repenting at the tomb of the saint.
The sanctity of Marina spread all over Lebanon, people from all its regions came to the Monastery of Qannoubine to be blessed by her body. Her tomb became a source of cures and graces." (Daher 1996: 189-190)
This account on the life, legend, and relics of Saint Marina the Monk tells us but little about her passion, suffering, and humiliation. The Maronites remain to this day fascinated by this Saint. Among them, there is almost a righteous anger against the injustice that was done to her. To this day, her name is intertwined with that of the Monastery of Qannoubine and her nearby grotto is a reminder of her chastity, obedience, asceticism, humility, forgiveness, and sainthood.
On July 9th, 1860 a fire broke out through the Christian area of Damascus. Many Maronite families took refuge in a Franciscan monastery along with the Massabki brothers and the Superior, Father Emmanuel.
)Father Emmanuel closed the Monastery and called everyone to the church where they prayed and made their confession and received communion. While everyone took refuge on the roof, Francis one of the Massabki brothers remained kneeling at the feet of the Sorrowful Mother. Moments later the church was attacked, The Superior Father was captured and told the attackers that he would lead them to the treasure inside the church. He proceeded to the altar, where he lit the candles and took out the Eucharist from the tabernacle. Father Emmanuel was then put to death.
The attackers then noticed Francis kneeling in prayer and recognized him. They told him that the Sheikh had sent them to save him and his family from death on the condition that he deny his faith and convert. Francis answered them, "Sheikh Abdullah can take my money, he can also take my life; but my faith no one can make me deny. I am a Christian and in the faith of Christ, I will die." Francis was then put to death.
The attackers then confronted Abdel El –Maoti in the convent yard and also asked him to renounce his faith to escape death; He refused and was also martyred.
Raphael, who was hiding inside the convent was offered the same as his brothers, but also refused and was also martyred. According to witnesses, the three Massabki brothers were buried in the convent along with the eight martyr priests and others who had sought refuge there.
On October 7, 1926, His Holiness Pius XI proclaimed the beatification of the three brothers. The Massabki brothers are great role models for Maronite families. Although they were rather wealthy, they remained faithful and humble. We pray, that these great Maronites will soon be recognized amongst our Maronite Saints. We ask for their intercession to help us live our lives as honest Christians, and we pray for all those who are being persecuted around the world. May they find refuge and comfort in you Lord. Amen.
(From: Living Maronites)
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