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March 23


Saint of the day:
Saint Rafqa

Patron Saint of lost parents and of the sick

The Story of Saint Rafqa

Saint Rebecca Pierrette Ar-Rayes: also known as Saint Rafka, was born in Lebanon in 1832. She was the only child born to her parents and at the age of 6, her mother passed away. Her father re-married and Rebecca did not get along with her stepmother. At 11, she got a job as a maid and at 14, told her father that she wished to become a nun. Her father objected but she joined the Order of the Immaculate Conception at the age of 21.

Later, when her order combined with another, she was given a choice to change. She joined the Order of Saint Anthony of Maronites and she prayed to be able to share in the suffering of Christ.Starting in 1885 she endured intense pain in her eyes and brow, eventually going blind. Still in pain, she suffered bleeding from the eye sockets and frequent nosebleeds. By 1907 she was almost completely paralyzed but often managed to crawl to the monastery’s chapel to pray, a feat thought impossible. In spite of the pain, Saint Rebecca never complained.

Prior to her death, she dictated her autobiography. In the midst of suffering from tuberculosis, she prayed for an hour of sight to be able to see Mother Ursula, her superior. Her wish was granted. She passed away on March 23rd, 1914, was beatified in November 1985, and canonized in June 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

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Saint Joseph Monastery - tomb of Saint Rafqa







the World's Strongest Lebanese Garlic Sauce



  • 3 Heads garlic pealed

  • 4 cups vegetable oil Avocado/canola/sunflower/peanut etc…

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice fresh

  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste


  1. Ensure that all ingredients are at room temperature for a more reliable outcome. Also if you are using a large food processor make sure you use at least 3 heads of garlic otherwise smaller quantities of garlic won't be easily reached by large blades.

  2. Add the garlic and salt in the food processor and run for 10-20 seconds.

  3. Stop processor, scrap garlic down the sides, then run processor again for another 10-20 seconds. Repeat process 3-4 times until garlic starts to turn pasty.

  4. From this point onwards, turn the processor back on and keep it on until the end.

  5. Start adding the oil slowly in a very thin stream. After adding the first half cup you will start seeing the garlic emulsify and turn into a shiny paste already.

  6. While still running, add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice very slowly, in a thin stream.

  7. Wait on it a few seconds until the lemon juice is well absorbed then go back to repeating the same process of slowly adding ½ cup of oil in a thin stream, waiting a few seconds, then adding ½ teaspoon of lemon juice until you’ve used all ingredients. This process should take 8-10 minutes.




Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions


  • 2 extra-large onions or 3 large onions

  • 1 cup white rice

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley reserve some for garnish

  • 1 pound ground meat of your choice original recipe uses lamb

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar

  • 3 pinches of sugar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. The first step is to soak your rice in a bowl cool water. The rice will absorb some of the water -- we'll drain off the water in a later step.

  2. Fill a pot with water (enough to cover a whole onion by 1" and bring to a boil. Cut off the very top and bottom of each onion. Make a cut down one side of each of the onions, cutting into the center from top to bottom. This helps the onion layers cook evenly and make it easier to peel. Add the onions, and let them cook for 10 minutes or until the layers soften and separate easily.

  3. Drain the rice completely. In a large mixing bowl, add the drained rice, tomato paste, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cilantro or parsley and ground meat. Mix well.

  4. When the onions have finished cooking, remove and drain from the boiling water. Let cool and separate out the layers individually and place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling, wrap onion around filling, but not too tightly to allow rice to expand during cooking.

  5. In a large, oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat, swirl in the olive oil. When pan is hot, place the onions seam-side down. Let cook for 2 minutes until the bottoms have browned slightly. Add vinegar to the pan and sprinkle the tops of the onions with sugar. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes or until the meat and rice are fully cooked, rotating the onions halfway during cooking.

Shish Taouk (Spiced Chicken Kebabs)


  • 10 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste

  • 1⁄2 cup lemon juice

  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tbsp. Aleppo pepper

  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin

  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander

  • 1⁄2 tbsp. dried mint leaves

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ pieces

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped


  1. Combine half the garlic, ⅓ cup juice, 2 tbsp. oil, 1½ tbsp. Aleppo pepper, cumin, coriander, dried mint, salt, and pepper in a bowl; add chicken, and toss to coat. Chill for 2 hours.

  2. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill. Skewer chicken on about eight 10″ wooden skewers; grill, turning, until chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, 10–12 minutes. Mix yogurt, fresh mint, remaining garlic, juice, oil, and Aleppo in a bowl; serve alongside skewers.

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