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Saint Nimutallah

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Life

Spirituality

Saint Nimatullah Youssef Kassab Al-Hardini was born in 1808 in Hardin, Lebanon, where he was deeply influenced by the monastic traditions of the Maronite Church. Surrounded by a family devoted to religious service, with four of his brothers pursuing priesthood or monastic life, Youssef himself entered the Lebanese Maronite Order in 1828.

Commencing his religious journey at the monastery of St. Anthony in Qozhaya, nestled near the Qadisha (Holy) Valley, he spent two years there before embarking on his novitiate and adopting the name "Nimatullah." During this period, he delved into the practices of personal and communal prayer, engaged in manual labor, and acquired skills in bookbinding.

Nimatullah's profound love for the Blessed Sacrament was evident in his devout practices, often foregoing sleep to spend extended periods in prayer before the tabernacle. Ordained a priest on December 25, 1833, he assumed the role of director of the scholasticate and served as a professor.

Despite enduring hardships during the civil wars of 1840 and 1845, Nimatullah remained steadfast in his commitment to community life, rejecting suggestions to retreat to a hermitage. Throughout his life, he maintained a fervent devotion to the Virgin Mary, finding solace and strength in her intercession, particularly in the mystery of the Immaculate Conception.

In December 1858, while fulfilling his teaching duties at the monastery of Kfifan, Nimatullah fell gravely ill due to the harsh winter conditions. Clutching an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he uttered his final words, entrusting his soul to her care, before passing away on December 14 at the age of 50.

During his lifetime, Nimatullah was revered as the "Saint of Kfifan," known for his selfless dedication to his fellow monks and neighbors amid the trials faced by his homeland and within his religious order. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 10, 1998.

Father Nimatullah led a life of sanctity, characterized by his unwavering devotion to prayer and deep spiritual communion with God. His days and nights were spent in contemplation, meditation, and reverence before the Eucharist, demonstrating a profound connection to the divine. He held a special reverence for the Virgin Mary, regularly praying her Rosary as an expression of his devotion.

In addition to his spiritual pursuits, Father Nimatullah exemplified humility, sensitivity, and patience, embodying the ideals of obedience, chastity, and poverty inherent in his monastic vows. Revered by his fellow monks and acquaintances alike, he was affectionately referred to as "The Saint" during his lifetime.

As Father Nimatullah neared the end of his earthly journey, he clung to an image of the Virgin Mary, offering his soul into her care with his final breaths: “O Virgin Mary, between your hands I submit my soul.” Witnesses present at his passing recounted a heavenly light that filled his room and an enduring fragrance that lingered long after his departure.

Upon learning of Father Nimatullah's passing, Patriarch Boulos Massad expressed admiration, remarking, “Congratulations to this monk who knew how to derive benefit from his monastic life.” This sentiment encapsulated the profound impact and legacy of Father Nimatullah's spiritual journey.

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