Blessed Estephan's Final Mission

A few days before his death, the authority of the Maronite Order sent him to the monastery of our Lady of Mayfouq in a task to determine the borders of some lands. On that extremely hot day of the month of August, brother Estephan was heavily exposed to sun and he was very affected. He fell extremely ill very quickly and had a strong fever, and he felt very exhausted. After dinner he sat down with his brothers the monks on the balcony overlooking the sea and they were praying the holy rosary quietly. At the end of the prayer he was extremely tired and brother Charbel Nehme (who was still a novice) asked him:”master would you like me to fill the water jar for you before you go to sleep?” he answered him: “do whatever you want”. 

Blessed Brother Estephan Nehme

Charbel went to brother Estephan’s room and he found the water jar containing very little water, so he emptied it and re-filled it again for him and came back. Then brother Estephan turned to brother Antonios Al Rami who was sitting next to him and said:”do not go tonight to sleep in the wheat field because it is far, I will go at your place so that you can rest”, and he asked for water. Then suddenly his neck bent over and his head collapsed. At that scene, brother Antonios became completely lost and he started running in every direction and he shouted loudly: ”where is the water! where is the jar!” and he shook his hands nervously asking Charbel the novice to come quickly. But very soon they discovered that all their efforts were in vain and that brother Estephan had already passed away. It was Tuesday, August 30, 1938 at seven o’clock in the evening. Estephan was only 49 years old. 

Later on, brother Antonios Al Rami testified: ”we went to bring the doctor and we walked a long distance to reach him, around an hour. When we came back the monastery, brother Estephan’s body was already cold. Then immediately we sent a messenger to acknowledge his family of the tragedy, but we did not wait for them to show up because his body was starting to inflate due to the extreme fever that he had. Blood was gushing out of his nose and cheeks, and we feared that his intestines might come out of his body because his belly had expanded considerably. This is what forced us to make an early burial, so we prayed the funeral liturgy over him and we buried him in the monks’ cemetery”.

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