Charbel Becomes a Monk

From Charbel's Early Life.

Youssef Makhlouf remained in his home village until he was 23 years old. One day his uncle, father Daniel came from the Monastery of Mayfouq to Bekaakafra as he was willing to visit the monastery of Saint Antonios Kozhaya, so he told his nephew Hanna (Youssef's brother) that he would like Youssef to accompany him. Then Hanna told him: "my uncle I'm afraid that Youssef might leave with you to the monastery and stay there", then Daniel answered: "It will be good for him to become a monk, afterall what's in this world!". So Youssef went with his uncle to the monastery of Kozhaya where his other uncle Father Augustin was.

Eight days after his return to Bekaakafra, Youssef left his family and his home to become a monk at the monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouq. He started as a novice and was named Charbel (a Syriac name composed of Charb: story and Il: God). On the 8th of August 1851 and after having spent eight days in his own clothes, he was dressed with the monk's robe. During his novitiate he used to perform his duties impeccably and was very happy with his monastic call. His uncle and tutor Tannous, his mother and his two brothers Hanna and Beshara tried in vain on many occasions to bring him back from the monastery but he wouldn't return.

Monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouq

It happened once that one of the farm girls harrassed him by throwing silkworm insects on him, then by putting an insect on his hand. So he fled the monastery by night without talking to anyone and went to the monastery of Saint Maron Annaya. On the journal of the monastery of Mayfouq, next to Brother Charbel's name, it is mentioned: "left the order".

Charbel told the Superior of the monastery of Saint Maron Annaya about  what happened, and the Superior reviewed his case with the General Superior who then granted him the permission to be admitted to the monastery in Annaya to resume his second year of novitiate.

When his brother Hanna and his mother Brigitta knew that he left Mayfouq, they came to bring him back to Bekaakafra. As he was out in the field with his fellow novices, his mother ran to him and held him by his robe firmly to bring him back home. But when she saw his determination and his attachment to his monastic call she said to him: "either you stay definitely in the order and become a good monk, or you come back home with me now", Charbel answered her: "You said it".

Charbel took his monastic vows on the first of November 1853 and he was 25 years old. Brigitta came back again to check on her son at the monastery in Annaya and she insisted to face him, but he wouldn't accept. He only said a few words to her from inside his room without facing her while she stood outside his door weeping. So she asked him: "Is this how you baffle me my son and prevent me from seeing you?", he answered her: "if I don't see you now, we'll see each other in heaven". So she left in tears and profound sadness. 

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