(OSV News) — As American Catholics celebrate a national Eucharistic revival, a new spiritual center in Pittsburgh is encouraging deeper devotion to the Eucharist through the intercession of a beloved Lebanese saint.
St. Charbel Spiritual Life Center opened on December 14 and provides opportunities for worship, Eucharistic adoration, education, ministry, training and Bible study. The Center operates under the direction of the Maronite Catholic Church of the Grand Duchy of St. Maron in Brooklyn, New York, one of the 24 autonomous Eastern and Latin churches in communion with the Pope that together make up the Global Catholic Church.
The center sits on three acres adjacent to Our Lady of Victory Maronite Catholic Church and includes a chapel, a spacious library, classrooms, prayer spaces, offices and kitchen.
Monday through Friday, liturgies are held at the center with rotating priests from the Maronite, Byzantine and Roman traditions “as a sign of unity within the Catholic Church,” according to a press release from the organization. There are opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation every weekday.
On the 22nd of each month, the center will hold a liturgy in memory of Saint Charbel for those present, including adoration of the Eucharist, penance and veneration of the saint’s relics. Day retreats will also be offered in the coming months.
Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour, who leads the Archdiocese of St. Maron, said in a statement that he and other Maronite Catholics are “extremely fortunate” to share in the legacy of St. Charbel.
“Stone. Charbel is well known to the Maronites and many other Catholics around the world, but now we will be able to better spread his devotion, his faith, and – we pray – extend his legacy even further Blessings,” Bishop Mansour said.
Born in Lebanon in 1828, Yussek Antoun Makhlouf was drawn to solitude, prayer and contemplation from an early age, possibly following the example of his two uncles who entered the monastery of St. Anthony of Kuzaya inspiration. The future saint lost his father at an early age, silently rejected his family’s advice to marry and engage in trade, and left home at the age of 23 to begin monastic life. In 1859 he was ordained a Maronite priest and lived and prayed at the Ananya Monastery.
In 1875 Saint Charbel was allowed to become a hermit of St. Petersburg. Peter and Paul were in Anaya, giving up their solitude only at the request of their superiors to visit and heal the sick. He died of a stroke just before Christmas 1898.
Immediately after his death, witnesses reported seeing lights around his grave, and upon exhumation, his body was found to be undecomposed and oozing with sweat and blood. St. Paul VI beatified the humble monk in 1965 and canonized him in 1977.
Dr. Anne Borick, a Catholic physician and director of the center, told OSV News that the miracles wrought by St. Charbel’s intercession continue to this day.
Borrick, a Pittsburgh native who now lives in Arizona, said she has had “a great love for St. Charbel for many years” because her family worships in the Maronite and Roman rites of the Catholic Church.
That dedication intensified dramatically after she led a medical team investigating the case of Dafne Gutierrez. Daphne Gutierrez, an Arizona mother of five, became legally blind in 2014 due to increased pressure in her skull, symptoms similar to those of a brain tumor.
Gutierrez, then 37, was an aloof Catholic who knew nothing about St. Charbel. She began attending Catholic healing masses and visited the saint’s relics at a Maronite liturgy in 2016. That visit also included a return to the confessional and anointing. After just a few days, Gutierrez’s vision returned.
For Borick, the experience further fueled her confidence because, in her judgment, Gutierrez suffered “irreversible” optic nerve constriction due to “very, very high” pressure on the brain. of damage.
“When this happened, the way I practiced medicine completely changed,” Borick told OSV News, adding, “I (now) pray with patients at their bedside, and when I ask, ‘Do you want me to pray? ?”
Borrick, who also founded the St. Sharbel Global Prayer Net, an international prayer group hosted on the Mighty Networks app, said, “Prayer is a powerful tool we have for healing.” She said those who come to St. Charbel’s Center for Spiritual Life in Pittsburgh will find that St. Charbel is the perfect guide in leading others toward “health and holiness.”
“It’s not really a light,” she marvels, “but a center of life.”
Gina Christian is a national reporter for OSV News. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter): @GinaJesseReina