Saint Nehmtallah was born Youssef Kassab, in 1808 in a village in Hardine, in North Lebanon. As a boy he attended school run by the Lebanesse Maronite Order, and after finishing his studies in 1822 he entered the Monastery of Saint Anthony and took the name of Nehmatallah, which means ‘Grace of God’.
Saint Nehmtallah lived as a Maronite monastic monk and spent his time in prayer, meditation and with the blessed sacrament. Nehmtallah had a significant devotion to The Virgin Mary and to her rosary which he prayer tirelessly. He was a very humble and patient person and was a great role model to his brother monks.
He took his vows in 1833 and was assigned by the abbot to teach at the seminary. Among his students was Charbel Makhluf (Saint Charbel). He was named director of the seminarians as he was well educated in preparation for his ordination.
Nehmtallah became ill during the winter of 1858 and suffered with high fever for two weeks before passing away on the 14 December.
In 1998, Pope John Paul II declared that Father Nehmtallah “is an example of Christian and monastic life for the Maronite community and for all disciples of Christ today… He is a sign of hope for all Lebanese, particularly for families and young people.”
Saint Nehmtallah lived a humble life, where he fasted and prayed to better his spirituality. We can all live by his example and seek to fast in order to grow in spirituality as well as humility. We pray that in preparation to the Birth of our Lord, our fasting will help prepare us for the feast.
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