Perhaps the most amazing phenomenon in the modern world is the existence of the perfectly incorrupt and life-like body of the holy Maronite monk, St. Charbel Makhlouf, who was born on May 8, 1828, in the village of Biqa-Kafra in the high mountains of Northern Lebanon... Having received a thorough theological education at seminaries conducted by his order, he was ordained a priest on July 23, 1859 and was assigned to the Monastery of St. Maroun, where he spent sixteen years in the practice of monastic virtues. In 1875 he received the permission of his superiors to retire to the Hermitage of Saints Peter and Paul, which was a little distance from the monastery and which was used by the priests during days of quiet retreat. It was in this secluded sanctuary that he spent the remaining twenty-three years of his life in the practice of severe mortification. It is recorded by his companions that he wore a hair shirt, practiced corporal discipline, slept on the hard ground, and ate only one meal a day, that being the remains of the meals of his companions.

Nothing outstanding is recorded of him except his remarkable devotion to the Holy Eucharist and his preference for saying daily Mass at 11:00 a.m., so he could spend almost all the morning in preparation and the rest of the day in thanksgiving.

In 1898 he suffered a seizure while saying Mass, and a priest assisting at the Holy Sacrifice was forced to pry the Holy Eucharist from his grasp. The holy monk died eight days later on Christmas Eve at the age of seventy.

The Incorruptibles
Joan Carroll Cruz