On February 8, the Church commemorates the life of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian Sister who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Sudan. Her story is a harrowing one. See HERE
Josephine Bakhita was born in 1869, in a small village in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was kidnapped while working in the fields with her family and subsequently sold into slavery. Her captors asked for her name but she was too terrified to remember so they named her “Bakhita,” which means “fortunate” in Arabic.
Retrospectively, Bakhita was very fortunate, but the first years of her life do not necessarily attest to it. She was tortured by her various owners who branded her, beat and cut her.
After being sold a total of five times, Bakhita was purchased by Callisto Legnani, the Italian consul in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Two years later, he took Bakhita to Italy to work as a nanny for his colleague, Augusto Michieli. He, in turn, sent Bakhita to accompany his daughter to a school in Venice run by the Canossian Sisters.
Bakhita felt called to learn more about the Church, and was baptised with the name “Josephine Margaret.” In the meantime, Michieli wanted to take Josephine and his daughter back to Sudan, but Josephine refused to return.
Josephine remained in Italy and decided to enter Canossians in 1893. She made her profession in 1896 and was sent to Northern Italy, where she dedicated her life to assisting her community and teaching others to love God.
She was known for her smile, gentleness and holiness.
She even went on record saying, “If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today.”
St. Josephine was beatified in 1992 and canonized shortly after on October 2000 by Pope John Paul II. She is the first person to be canonized from Sudan and is the patron saint of the country.
Let us pray to act together
We pray together through her intercession, for all who live a similar experience today, especially on this Sr. Josephine Bakhita’s feast day (8th February) set aside to #Prayforthosetrafficked and #prayeragainsthumantraffickingandslavery
God of hope and peace
Touch our hearts
and energise our ongoing efforts
in abolishing human trafficking,
a heinous crime against humanity.
So that every victim is freed
and every survivor’s life is renewed.
You blessed Sr. Josephine Bakhita of Sudan
with compassion for others.
May her prayers conform and strengthen
the women, men and children who are in search of freedom.
(Content of this News item is informed by the catholicnewsagency.com article on Sr. Josephine Bakhita. Teh prayer used is from the Dublin Archdiocese Instagram Post see Archdiocese of Dublin (@archdiocesedublin) • Instagram photos and videos)