|Testimony of his brother Neemtallah :
“We are four brothers: Neemtallah, Sarkis, Haikal and Youssef the youngest of the family. He was the wheat and the little angel of our pure house. He was fed the spirit of silence and quiet as well as the milk of virtue and piety from his mother. He was passionate to Virgin Mary. He learnt the basics of reading and writing in the school of the village. He participated continuously in the mass. He obeyed his parents. He grazed the cattle in the field with his little friends and went together to the sanctuary of Saint Saba where they prayed. When he grew up and became stronger, he started helping us in the field work. He was robust, strong and tough. He was fifteen year old when our father passed away, thus I bent on him as if I became his father. In the evening, he reminded the family of the time of praying. He was brave heart and courage and he feared no one, if he was right. He used to stay at home and run away from evening parties and gatherings.
Furthermore, my brother made this fountain “Ghreir” spout out of this rock when he saw an animal called in Arabic “ghreir” (marmot) entering under the rock. He followed it and caught it. Then he found out water and he worked on making it flow out. Due to him, we live in a piece of paradise.
In 1905, when he got sixteen, he went secretly to the Monastery of Kfifane in order to become a monk. I followed him to bring him back home, and make sure of his vocation, but he said: “Brother, this is where I want to be, and where I want to die.” He barely came to our visit.
This is a brief testimony that I submit into your hands and I am ready to take oath when necessary.”
Testimony of his nephew Moussa Sarkis Neemtallah Nehme :
“My uncle Brother Estephan was very decent and preservative. He respected the virtue of blessed poverty. Hereinafter the proof:
When we built a small room, we asked my uncle Estephan to fix wooden door and windows. When he finished, he told to my father: “It cost two liras that you have to pay, but you are exempted from my labor costs for I asked the Superior Father to leave it for you.” One of those who were present told him: “Why don’t you exempt your brother from these two liras too?” And he answered: “This is the money of the Monastery and I do not want it to be spent by my brother’s family.”
What I can say as well is that he had a good and decent behavior towards others. He did not harm anyone and when two persons disputed, he worked hard and immediately to reconcile between them. He used to repeat continuously: “God can see me”, for he was an ideal monk.”
Testimony of Youhana Barakat Nehme, and his neighbor and friend of childhood :
“When we were little boys, we, Brother Estephan and I, used to go to the field to graze the cattle and I was amazed by his interesting talks that tackled saints and martyrs, especially monks. I had always felt that I was with the company of a monk who repeated: “God can see me.” We used to pray as well in the sanctuary of Saint Saba that we decorated with flowers, especially on his blessed Day. At home, when he wanted to pray, he used to get away from noise and from his brothers and go underneath the oak, as His spiritual father Saint Charbel Makhlouf so that he enjoys praying in silence and quiet.
He created distance between us when we were children and teenagers, for he started helping his brothers in the vineyards and the fields. One day, I knew surprisingly that he headed secretly towards the Monastery of Kfifane intending to become a monk. Indeed he was a monk in the village due to his decent life, before going to Kfifane. This decision made me upset. I used to visit him from time to time and he showed me compassion and interest. After his death, I heard that he was performing miracles through the intercession of his Divine Mother Mary to whom he used to pray and venerate as well as he worshiped Her Savior Child.”
Testimony of Brother Gerges Nehme from Lehfed :
I knew Brother Estephan for nine years in the Monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouk, where I was responsible for the convent’s funds while he was in charge of the field. I certify that he led an angelic, quiet and organized life. He was the good example in all his behaviors and I do not find words to describe the life of this monk, melted with compassion and tenderness. He used to advise and orientate his workers.
How shall I explain his love, his care and his compassion towards helpless people? I remember that a new born lost his father during the First World War. When he was distributing food, he entered this house and found this poor child feeding from the breast of his dead mother. He was extremely touched and he carried the baby into his arms like a loving mother and took him to the field where he gave him, as well as other children, milk from the cow. He took care of them until the end of the war.
When the monastery of Mayfouk applied the austerity measures during the World War, each monk was given four loaves. Brother Estephan used to eat one and distribute the three left to poor people.
When they were in the field and it was time to pray, he got away from others and prayed individually. He went to church before everyone and participated in several masses and did not neglect any of the daily meditations. He worked continuously and bravely and took a good care of the convent interests.
When he was in Mayfouk, the convent contained 73 monks who used to hug him whenever they saw him for he loved everyone. Each night, when he came back from field, he passed to each cell in order to check on monks and give help to the oldest ones.
Testimony of Father Boutros Zahra :
“I, Father Boutros Zahra, Lebanese monk, lived in the Monastery of Our Lady in Mayfouk for about one year and a half. I was 21 year old. Among the monks, was Brother Estephan who used to run the field, in other words, he invest it and provided the convent with its harvest that was enough for one year and there was no need to buy anything.
Every day, he used to wake up early and participate in two masses before the meditation. Afterwards, he went to prepare the tools of the field work. His four workers led four pairs of cows while as he walked behind them, holding his rosary in his hand and praying until reaching the field. Then he put the rosary on the rock and threw seeds on the ground and workers started working. He went back to prayer till noon and had lunch with them. On their way home, he walked also behind them and prayed until he reached the convent. Then he entered the church, and did not come out until dinner time. Afterwards he went back to church until bed time. He entered his room holding the rosary. God only knows how much time he spent praying in his room.
He had never said a bad or harmful word. If someone bothered him, I used to hear him saying: “Hell to evil!” Once I asked him: “Master Brother Estephan, why do you always send evil to hell? What did he do to you?” He smiled and answered gently: “I am not. He is already there.”
All the members of the monastery, priests and monks, took him as an example and an ideal. This is what I know about Brother Estephan and I testify before God and people. I am ready to take oath when necessary.
Testimony of Father Estephan Farhat from Jej :
“I lived with Brother Estephan in many monasteries; however he was the same person in each stage and in each monastery. His spiritual and professional life did not know any change, but on the contrary, he persevered his exceptional way of living.
During the First World War, the Lebanese Maronite Generalate was constrained to split novices and send them to different convents where they could be safe until the war comes to an end and they could later resume their studies. That year, on 1914, I was sent to the Monastery of Our Lady in Mayfouk, headed by the Superior Father Antonios Nehme from Lehfed. Brother Estephan was responsible for the said monastery’s fields. For we had the same name, he used to call me “smeye” (an Arabic word). Therefore, I used to visit him continuously in his carpentry workshop near the field and tackle the subject of war and its catastrophes as well as many other issues. I used to sit on a piece of wood where he sits to rest, while as he worked hard. His talks, his way of dressing, his behavior and his moves made me conclude that he was full of decentness and conservativeness. When I said a bad word, he alerted and warned me by calling me “smeye” so I can understand that I did a mistake and apologize.
Testimony of Father Eghnatius Dagher Tannury :
“I knew Brother Estephan when he was novice and also when he became monk, for I was the novice-master and the Superior of the Monastery of Kfifane as well as a Superior General. I saw in his depth the real monastic spirit. He was a living example of monastic vows: obedience, chastity and poverty. He was agile and smart. He respected time and achieved missions consciously and cleverly. Furthermore, he was extremely obedient to his superiors as well as to the Order.”
Testimony of Mr. Youssef Tannous Daw :
“Brother Estephan was a good example for his young friends. He obeyed his parents and his older brothers. He participated in daily morning mass and respected his religious duties meticulously and bravely.
When he passed away and his marvelous news spread, we went to visit his blessed tomb and see him. He was laying as if he was sleeping peacefully. One woman of the crowd took a hair of his beard. When we wanted to leave and go back home, the driver tried to start the car but in vain. It was broken down. The Superior came and asked that woman what she has done and she confessed. Then he told her: “If you have asked for a blessing, we would have given you.” At the moment the car started easily.”
Testimony of Dr. Rose Eliane:
“I was charged by the Superior of Kfifane’s monastery, Father Eghnatius Khachan, to examine the body of Brother Estephan Nehme from Lehfed who died at the age of 49 and buried in the Monastery of Kfifane on August 30th 1938. I examined the body of the said monk and found out that all his organs were non decayed, except one part of his forehead on the right side. It seems that someone took it in order to keep it as a blessing. As for the color of the body, it was rather brown. The members were supple and almost normal as well as the belly skin and muscles. His hair did not fall. This is what I testify and attest consciously and faithfully.
Written on September 29, 1962.