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Saint Nimatullah Hardini

 

Saint Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini
a Lebanese monk


Youssef Kessab was born in Hardine, in North Lebanon, in the year 1808, from a devout Maronite Catholic family, Gergis Kessab and Mariam Raad. As a youngster he attended the school of the monastery of the Maronite Lebanese Order of Saint Anthony, in Houb (1816-1822). After that he joined the monastic life in that same Order, and put on the novitiates’ uniform in the monastery of Saint Anthony the Great, Gazo d’Hayo (pronounced Kozhayya in Lebanese, from the Aramaic Gazo d’Hayo, meaning the treasure of life, a term that is often used in Aramaic Maronite terminology to refer to the Sacristy, where the Eucharist and the martyrs and saints relics are reserved), in November 1828, taking the name of brother Nimatullah (which means the grace of God). He spent there some peaceful time growing up in holiness and learning some skillful trades, like binding books in the monastery’s printing house. In 14 November 1830, Nimatullah professed his solemn vows. And after he finished his theology studies, he was ordained to the sacred priesthood in the monastery of Saints Qobrianos and Youstina, in Kfifane (Batroun, North Lebanon), in December 25th, 1833, by the laying hands of his Excellency bishop Simon Zouein.
He was elected a Counselor (Provincial) by his Order’s chapter for three times: 1845-1848; 1850-1853; & 1856-1858. He always worked in binding books even when he was a Counselor in the General Administration of his Lebanese Maronite Order. He was a teacher in several schools run by his Order, especially the one annexed to the Kfifane monastery. One of his best students was Saint Sharbel Makhlouf, who studied under Saint Nimatullah from 1853-1858.
Nimatullah died in the monastery of Saints Qobrianos and Youstina, in December 14, 1858, after being severally ill for years. After an order from Patriarch Boulos Massad, and because of the demands of the increasing visitors, his uncorrupted body was closed in a sealed coffin and moved to a separated cell in the monastery in 1862. In May 4th, 1926, his beatification case was presented to the Holy Sea in Rome. In September 7th, 1989 he was declared an honorable.
In May 18th 1996, and according to the orders of Patriarch Mar Nisrallah Peter Sfeir, a committee was appointed to examine Saint Nimatullah’s body, which was moved to a new coffin, then placed in a new room in the same monastery in March 26, 1998.
God granted his people many healing and miracles through the intercession of Saint Nimatullah, among these several we mention just few samples here: making a blind man to see, and another paralyzed to walk erect, and brining back to life a child who was dead, healing another child, and healing from cancer and other neurotic illnesses.
In May 10, 1998, Pope John Paul II, presided the great celebrations of his beatification. (and then of his canonization a Saint for the Universal Catholic Church, in May 16th, 2004-this last line in italic I added). May his prayers be with us always. Amen.

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Australian Maronites celebrate Lebanese monk canonisation

 (Retrieved from Catholic News on May 17, 2004)

 Australia's Maronite community has celebrated yesterday's canonisation of the Lebanese monk Fr Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, with prayers of thanksgiving and special Masses.

 Fr Nimatullah was one of six saints canonised in St Peter's Square yesterday. Among the well-wishers on hand for the ceremony was Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, himself a Maronite Catholic.

 Australian Maronite Diocese Bishop Ad Abikaram said the community is overjoyed at the canonisation of Fr Nimatullah, who joins  Saints Charbel and Rafqa as the three Saints from Lebanon.

 Fr Nimatullah was born in 1810 in Hardine, a Maronite village in the Lebanese mountains and from childhood felt called to monastic life. He was always a man of prayer and led an exemplary monastic life, with a particular devotion to the Eucharist and to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 More than 50 miracles have been attributed to Fr Nimatullah from the time he was beatified to the present time. The miracle accepted for the canonisation related to the cure of a blind woman.

 Bishop Abikaram said the canonisation was a wonderful occasion for the Maronite community and for all Catholics. "When people become Saints it is a great encouragement for us all," he said. "These people like Fr Nimatullah help to show us what it is to lead holy lives and how we can relate that to our own life.

 "Each Saint has his or her own way of loving God, their own path to holiness which is different to anyone else's and we are inspired and challenged to follow their example of holiness in our own way."

 Bishop Abikaram said plans were underway to bring the relics of the three Lebanese saints to Australia next year.

 Also canonised in yesterday's ceremony were:

 • Italian pediatrician Gianna Beretta Molla

 • Italian priest and founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence and of the Congregation of the Little Sisters, Missionaries of Charity, Luigi Orione

 • Founder of the Congregation of the Rogationist Fathers of the Heart of Jesus and of the Religious Daughters of Divine Zeal Hannibal Maria di Francia

 • Spanish-born founder of the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Josep Manyanet y Vives

 • Italian widow and founder of the Institute of Religious of the Holy Family Paola Elisabetta Cerioli.

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Lebanese monk among 6 granted sainthood

Lahoud expresses gratitude to pope

Some believe Hardini's elevation will boost the morale of the 900,000 Maronites currently living in Lebanon

By Karine Raad

Daily Star staff

Monday, May 17, 2004

BEIRUT/ROME: Neamatallah Kassab Hardini, a 19th century Lebanese monk known for his miraculous healing abilities, was one of six saints canonized by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican on Sunday during a joyous celebration.

The Pope, who turns 84 on Tuesday, read his entire homily and appeared in good form as he announced the saints to a crowd of hundreds of thousands of flag-waving pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Thousands of Christian worshippers also participated in the celebrations at the Kfifane monastery, in Northern Lebanon, where Hardini, who lived from 1808 to 1858, practiced for much of his life.

According to some observers, Hardini's elevation is likely to boost the morale of the 900,000 Maronites currently living in Lebanon.

Maronites comprise the largest of the country's Christian sects.

Following the service, which included an Arabic reading of a Biblical text, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud expressed his gratitude to the Pope on behalf of his 50,000 countrymen gathered in Rome for the ceremonies, as well as those back at home, saying the country was indeed "a nation that is a message" - a statement made by the Pope upon his visit to Lebanon in 1997.

"You have given Lebanon a lot and I am most grateful for your tremendous love," he said.

On Saturday, Lahoud made it clear that the Lebanese people warmly applauded the canonization of Hardini, "who will become a lighthouse for the Lebanese and their descendants - who have already made enormous sacrifices to turn Lebanon into a nation of mission, dialogue, and moral and religious principles and values."

In a statement Saturday, Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir described the canonization of the monk as an important event to all, particularly Christians.

"It reinvigorates faith and hope in the hearts of believers," Sfeir said.

Sfeir stressed that the canonization of three Lebanese saints in a span of 40 years meant that God would never abandon his people.

In remarks after a 20-minute closed door session with Lahoud on Saturday, the Pope expressed his hope that God would bless the unity of all Lebanese sects, adding that he hoped God would "protect those who have been exerting efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, which has been suffering unrest and unacceptable violence."

For his part, Lahoud said Lebanon supported the Vatican's viewpoints regarding the region's crisis. Human rights and international resolutions, he said, must constitute "a firm ground for the establishment of a new world order."

Also, in a meeting Saturday with the secretary of the Vatican State, Cardinal Sodano, Lahoud reiterated his support for the Palestinians' "right of return" to their homeland and urged the UN to exercise broader authority in Iraq.

"Iraqis should be allowed to determine their own fate freely," he said.

The Pope has made giving Catholics new role models one of the hallmarks of his papacy. With Sunday's ceremony, he has proclaimed 482 saints during his 25-year pontificate, more than all his predecessors have over the past 500 years combined.