He entered religious life at the age of 23, leaving his village home to serve Christ as a priest and monk in the Maronite Catholic tradition at the Monastery of St. Maron, in the village of Annaya, north of Beirut.

He was given the name Charbel, after a second-century Christian martyr, and lived at the monastery for 16 years before retreating to a nearby cell to live as a hermit in ceaseless prayer, which he did for the remaining years of his life. He died quietly on Christmas Eve 1898 and was buried near the monastery.

While Charbel never traveled much further than a couple days journey from his boyhood home, stories of his miraculous works during and after his life have spread throughout the world. He is said to have cured a madman by reading from the Gospel and to have protected crops from locusts by sprinkling them with water that he had blessed.

In the last century, pilgrims to the saint’s tomb have attributed numerous miracles, two of which were made public before Charbel’s beatification in December 1965 and a third before his canonization in October 1977.