Father Boutros Zahra testified: ”On several occasions I brought lunch for Brother Estephan to the field where he was working. When the bell of the Monastery rang, he knelt down and recited the Angelus prayer then he called the workers and laborers to lunch and ordered them to pray before starting to eat. He often left his lunch for the laborers who were poor or less fortunate than others, and went aside to pray alone. He returned to work and cultivated the land on the oxen by himself most of the times”.
|The Church at the Monastery of|
Our Lady of Succor (Al Maonat), Jbeil
One of the laborers spoke about his story with Brother Estephan: ”I was working with him once at the field of the Monastery in Kfifane, he noticed that I did not bring with me any food for the day, and our work was very demanding and hard as we used to work from six in the morning till four in the afternoon, and it was nearly impossible to stay without any food for the whole day. I was very poor and I came to work on that day without anything to eat, so he gave me his lunch, I refused to take it and told him :”no Sir I don’t want to eat” but he insisted and gave it to me, and he went and collected some green herbs and ate it with a piece of bread. This happened many times.”
When Brother Estephan was at the Monastery of Our Lady of Succor (Al Maonat), there was a road leading to the Monastery that was being excavated and built. Along the road way one of the retaining walls at the middle of a turning has collapsed for three consecutive times. Brother Estephan interfered and told the Superior:”Father, the wall can hold but the builder needs to adjust the layers of stone correctly, give me workers, if they listen to me I can build it for you and I guarantee you that it will not fall”. Then Brother Estephan arrived to the site, he demolished the old wall, made a new deep excavation and built it all again correctly. The Wall still holds today. The Superior and Vicars General thanked Brother Estephan and they made a celebration meal for him, as the previous collapses of that wall have caused injuries for four people.
Father Michael El Khoury testified: ”I was with Brother Estephan at the Monastery of Al Maonat for four years, from 1931 to 1935. We used to work for a couple of hours each Thursday then leave for Kfarsyaadeh where he was working on the land, taking care of the banana, orange and olive trees with the laborers. His hands were graceful on the land and the crops were overflowing. We helped him at work, collected stones and tore off the grass, he used to knot a handkerchief around his head to protect him from the sun. After work we sat together at his place and he told us stories about monks who were famous for their holiness like Charbel, Rafqa and Al Hardini, and the hermits of the Maronite Order, he told us about their lives and works, then afterwards he said:”now it’s time for the rosary”, and after the prayer we returned back to the Monastery.”