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He Was Muslim but the Virgin Mary Appeared to Him and on Christmas Eve He Became a Monk

This convert recalls that the first extraordinary event occurred during the month of Ramadan, while walking in Beirut after morning prayers in the mosque.

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(ZENIT News – Porta Luz/ Madrid, 29.12.2023).- Every now and then different media offer readers testimonies of Muslims who have converted to Catholicism due to encounters – including extraordinary ones – with Saints, the Virgin Mary and Christ Himself. However, in some countries, taking the step to embrace the Catholic faith can cost them their life.

Charbel, his name now as a Christian, is an example of such conversions. A Sunnite Muslim of Lebanon, he was baptized in 2017, and came to the Church through the mediation of the Virgin Mary. He has given his life to God, being part of a contemplative religious community, in a monastery close to Beirut.

The Voice from Heaven During Ramadan

Charbel recalls that the first extraordinary event took place during the month of Ramadan. He was walking in Beirut after morning prayers in the mosque, when he heard a voice from Heaven that pronounced words he had never heard before: “Glory to Jesus, the only Son of God, and glory to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.”

Charbel grew up in a Sunnite neighbourhood of Beirut. He didn’t know any Christian with whom he could share that impressive experience, he said in an interview published in the National Catholic Register: “This was impactful for me.”

“Do Not Be Afraid”

Then, on Christmas Eve of that year and while he was studying at home, he had a vision. “I saw the Virgin Mary for the first time in front of me and She said to me: “Do not be afraid, go on seeking, I am with you.” All I can say is that it was the most beautiful thing that I have seen in my life. From the moment I saw Her, I felt peace in my heart. I felt as if I were at home,” added Charbel.

After these events, he tried to meet Christians through the social networks, but between fear and mistrust, in the end he had no success.

However, this was not the last time he saw the Virgin Mary. It happened again on Christmas Eve over the next three years. “She always said to me the exact same words,” he noted.

Charbel’s Conversion and Baptism

It was then, after the last vision, that Charbel tried to establish a link with a Christian. And he found a Catholic where he least expected to, at a party. He told that Catholic about his visions of the Virgin, his  anxieties, and that he wanted to learn more about the Christian faith. His new friend introduced him to a priest, who gave him a Bible and gave him ‘John Paul’ as a contact, a Christian who had converted from Islam and who has accompanied numerous Muslims of Beirut in their path to Catholicism.

After meeting with John Paul, Charbel joined a catechesis and formation group and was finally baptized in 2017, on the Feast of the Holy Cross, eight months after initiating his catechumenate. He chose the name Charbel in honour of the well-known and much loved Lebanese Saint Charbel. “The day I was baptized I cried like a baby the whole day: they were tears of joy, of knowing myself loved,” he said. From that moment up to today, Charbel has been godfather to two Muslims who followed in his steps and converted to Catholicism.

His bond with Christ and the Church, his love of God are so strong that, six months after being baptized, he decided to enter a monastery of contemplative life near Beirut. “Some of us have to choose: I took the decision to jump ship to eternal and holy love. Now my reason for living is to be with the person I love, Jesus,” he confided.


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