"I come from the village of Hammana. I joined the Congregation of the Two Holy Hearts in Bickfaya at the age of 16 on the 8th of September, 1929. I had always enjoyed good health, but in the year 1936, I began to suffer from pains in the abdomen and could not bear to eat any food whatsoever. The doctors were unable to offer any help at all. Their treatments brought me no relief and for several months I vomited continously.

"During the summer of 1936 my condition became much worse. I was treated in Hammana by an Egyptian doctor who specialized in abdominal ailments, Dr. Marajel, who diagnosed an ulcer and advised an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis. Medicine was prescribed but it had no effect. I then went to consult Dr. Elias Ba'aklini, a well known surgeon. He cleaned out my stomach several times with a stomach pump, but this brought no relief. He finally performed surgery, lasting several hours, which revealed a large ulcer. The liver, bile duct and one kidney were no longer functioning normally.

"The incision was left open to drain and to allow treatment of the ulcer. Once the wound had healed, the nausea returned and my condition became suddenly worse. The doctors met in consultation and a new operation was advised. This was carried out with disastrous results. My intestines and stomach had been reduced to a malfunctioning mass following the reappearance of oversized polyps. It was not possible to remove more than a small part of this without endangering my life. What is more, the bile duct was producing a liquid which was causing perpetual nausea.

"During the following fourteen years, my suffering increased. During the first four, I was able to walk withing the confines of the convent but I ate very little and vomited after practically every meal. I became more and more feeble and experienced pain in every part of my body.

"In 1942, when I had been more or less bed-ridden for two years, new symptoms appeared and my right hand became paralyzed. I was able to move only with the aid of a cane. To reach the church only a few metres away, where I went to hear Mass, I had to be supported by another sister. Moreover, because of my condition, my teeth had begun to fall out. Considered by now unlikely to live much longer, I was given the last rites. It was then that I heard about Father Sharbel and begged him to intercede for me.

"'Allow me,' I asked him, 'if you wish to cure me, to let me see you in a dream.' That very night, I did see him! His arms were outstretched, much as he is represented in the last miraculous picture of him, and not as in a different picture that someone had given me. I saw myself as in a dream. I was in a small chapel, on my knees, praying. The tapers suddenly glowed brightly and I saw Father Sharbel who also kneeling. He was blessing me with outstretched arms.

This was a sign from heaven. Immediately afterwards, on Tuesday the 2nd of July, 1950 at 9:40 am, I left Bikfaya for the Monastery of Annaya, accompanied by Sister Isabelle Ghourayeb, Superior of the Convent in Jbeil, Sister Bernadette Nafah, teacher in the convent in Bikfaya and Sister Marie Mathilde Zambaca. I was carried up to the car on a chair. It was an exhausting trip for me. When I arrived, they carried me to the tomb of the pious hermit. Many sick people were already there. They lifted up my chair so that I could touch the stone and kiss it. The moment I placed my lips on the stone, I felt as though an electric shock had passed down my spine! They took me out to rest in a small room with a bed. I then went along with the other invalids to pray beside the old coffin that had held Sharbel. When I had finished, I was once more carried into the small anteroom.

"That evening, I asked Sister Isabelle if I might be permitted to spend the night beside the tomb. She replied, 'There are so many sick ones and you will never be able to sleep. You may stay another day.'

"The next morning, I was once more carried to the oratory, where I heard three Masses beside the tomb. I prayed and received Holy Communion. As I fervently recited the prayer for the sick, my eyes fell on the spot where Father Sharbel's name was engraved on the tomb. I noticed that it was covered with drops of shining sweat! Hardly daring to believe my eyes and wishing to make sure that what I saw was real, I propped one side of myself against my chair on one side and against the wall on the other. There could be no mistake. It was true. I took out my handkerchief and said to myself, "These drops of water are a gift from Father Sharbel." I raised myself up, wiped them up with the handkerchief and immediately rubbed them onto the sore places on my body.

"As soon as I had done this, without thinking, I got up and walked in front of everyone. The bells began to ring out to celebrate my restoration to health and to glorify God. The stupified crowd followed me out of the oratory, praising God and marvelling at my recovery.

"Among the witnesses to this event were five Jesuits who directed our congregation, Fathers Capello, Koniski, minister of the University Saint Joseph in Beirut, and Agia, as well as Brothers Mahir and Philippe. Father Agia gave a detailed summary of my illnes, next morning, I heard the cry, 'I want to become a Christian!' An Egyptian then spoke to me, 'You have given me faith. I had come here to seek a remedy for my deafness. God has given me spiritual light. I have been completely cured!' "

Medical certificate (1)

I, the undersigned, Dr Ibrahim Abi Haidar from Hammana, certify that in 1936 Sister Marie Abel, from the religious order of the Two Sacred Hearts, suffered from pyloric ulcers which resulted in her inability to keep down any nourishment. She underwent two operations but the relief she obtained was only temporary.

In 1944, I visited her in the convent of the Jesuit Sisters, in Bikfaya. I found her bed-ridden, unable to rise and in a critical condition. I judged her disease incurable.

Her unexpected recovery after she visited the tomb of Father Sharbel, the hermit, I consider to be miraculous, a supernatural event which surpasses all human explanation. It comes from the will of God of whom Sister Abel is a pious worshipper. I solemnly swear, on my honour, that this declaration is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

22 July, 1950   Signed: Dr. Ibrahim Abi-Haidar

Medical certificate (2)

I, the undersigned, Dr. Albert Farhat from Hammana, advisor to the Court of Appeal in Beirut, certify that Sister Marie Abel is a member of my family in Hammana. Suffering from an illness for more than twelve years, she was consequently paralysed, unable to move from her bed. The doctors assured me that the illness was incurable. After a visit to the tomb of Father Sharbel, she returned completely well, walking and eating normally.

When she returned to her family in Hammana, many people flocked to her house to see this miracle for themselves. She told us quite willingly what had happened.

In witness whereof I have delivered this certificate

Signed the 19th July, 1950 in Hammana, Dr. A. Farhat.

The speech delivered by Father Agia, Society of Jesus.

On the day that the miracle occured, Father Agia was present at the Monastery of St. Maroun, Annaya. He knew very well that Sister Marie Abel had been suffering dreadfully for the past fourteen years and that her condition was hopeless. But on this day, she was unrecognizable! Her ardent emotions brought tears to his eyes. Without thinking, he mounted the steps to the altar to speak to the gathering and in a moving address, gave a detailed account of her arduous journey. He described her frightful illness and the inability of even the best doctors to cure her.

The priest concluded his brief talk with these words,

"Without a doubt, Sister Marie Abel's cure is due to some supernatural  phenomenon desired by God and obtained by the intervention of His servant, Father Sharbel, the great pride of the Maronite people and of the Orient which God has deigned to honour by His prophets, the Incarnation of His Son, the Holy Virgin and the many saints and pious hermits."

Never had Father Agia been so enthusiastic, excited, and glowing as he was on that day. The listeners were inspired by the eloquence of the speaker and responded with tears of joy and consolations which shone in their eyes.

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