A Day to Remember – February 8th – Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita “
The whole of my life has been God’s gift” – Josephine Bakhita (C. 1869-1947)
St. Josephine Bakhita was born in southern Sudan in 1869. As a young girl she was kidnapped and sold into slavery. She did not remember her name; Bakhita, which means “fortunate one,” was the name given to her by her kidnappers. The little girl was kidnapped by Sudanese slave traders and spent about a dozen years enslaved there and in Italy, suffering beating, branding, and other abuse. In Italy, she learned about Jesus and found a commonality with her scars and the marks o his crucified body. She successfully fought for her freedom in the Italian Court system. Baptized as Josephine Bakhita, she spent the last fifty-plus years her of her life as a religious woman. She never saw her family again, nor did she ever remember her name or her birth date. Still, Bakhita said if she encountered again those who enslaved and abused her, she would kiss their hands, for without them, she would not have known Christ.
God of mercy and love, give us hope and resilience as we continue our efforts to eradicate this crime against our vulnerable sisters and brothers around the world. You blessed St. Josephine Bakhita of Sudan with love for others. May her prayers comfort and strengthen all those who find themselves enslaved and hopeless for freedom. Transform and heal the hearts of those who inflict pain and anguish on others so that victims are freed and protected. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever, Amen.