"The Lord has loved me so much: we must love everyone; we must be compassionate!"
- Saint Josephine Bakhita
In honor of Black History Month I thought we could learn about Saint Josephine Bakhita! Her feast day is celebrated on Feb. 8. May St. Bakhita's story and words offer us wisdom and inspiration for our own lives and guide us on our journey to Heaven!
Born to a wealthy Sudanese family, she was kidnapped by slave-traders at age 9, and given the name Bakhita (lucky) by them. Sold and resold in the markets at El Obeid and Khartoum, finally purchased in 1883 by Callisto Legnani, Italian consul who planned to free her. She accompanied Legnani to Italy in 1885, and worked as a nanny for the family of Augusto Michieli. She was treated well in Italy and grew to love the country. An adult convert to Christianity, she joined the Church on 9 January 1890, she took the name of Josephine as a symbol of her new life.
She entered the Institute of Canossian Daughters of Charity in Venice, Italy in 1893, taking her vows on 8 December 1896 in Verona, Italy and serving as a Canossian Sister for the next fifty years. Her gentle presence, her warm, amiable voice, and her willingness to help with any menial task were a comfort to the poor and suffering people who came to the door of the Institute. After a biography of her was published in 1930, she became a noted and sought after speaker, raising funds to support missions.
Prayer for the canonization of Saint Josephine
O God, Father of mercy, you have given us Blessed Josephine Bakhita as a "universal sister", an evangelical model of humble faith and ardent charity. Grant also to us the will to believe and to love in the spirit of the gospel, and listen favorably to the prayers of those who ask for intercession. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the virtues of Saint Josephine
O Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we thank you for the gifts of humility and charity which you bestowed on Saint Josephine Bakhita Deign to glorify her for her singular virtues and grant the prayers of those who invoke her, Amen
More quotes from Saint Josephine Bakhita
Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself, 'Who could be the Master of these beautiful things?' I felt a great desire to see him, to know him and to pay him homage. - Saint Josephine Bakhita
I have given everything to my Master: He will take care of me! The best thing for us is not what we consider best, but what the Lord wants of us! - Saint Josephine Bakhita
I received the Sacrament of Baptism with such joy that only angels could describe. - Saint Josephine Bakhita
O Lord, if I could fly to my people and tell them of your Goodness at the top of my voice: oh, how many souls would be won! - Saint Josephine Bakhita
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. - Saint Josephine Bakhita
I can truly say that it was a miracle I did not die, because the Lord has destined me for greater things. - Saint Josephine Bakhita
Mary protected me even before I knew her! - Saint Josephine Bakhita
When a person loves another dearly, he desires strongly to be close to the other: therefore, why be afraid to die? - Saint Josephine Bakhita
Death brings us to God! - Saint Josephine Bakhita
Saint Josephine Bakhita, describing some miseries during her time as a slave
One day I unwittingly made a mistake that incensed the master's son. He became furious, snatched me violently from my hiding place, and began to strike me ferociously with the lash and his feet. Finally he left me half dead, completely unconscious. Some slaves carried me away and lay me on a straw mat, where I remained for over a month. A woman skilled in this cruel art [tattooing] came to the general's house; our mistress stood behind us, whip in hand. The woman had a dish of white flour, a dish of salt and a razor. When she had made her patterns; the woman took the razor and made incisions along the lines. Salt was poured into each of the wounds. My face was spared, but six patterns were designed on my breasts, and 60 more on my belly and arms. I thought I would die, especially when salt was poured in the wounds; it was by a miracle of God I didn't die. He had destined me for better things. - Saint Josephine Bakhita
Words of Pope John Paul II
Rejoice, all of Africa! Bakhita has come back to you: the daughter of the Sudan, sold into slavery as a living piece of merchandise, and yet still free: free with the freedom of the saints. - Pope John Paul II
In our time, in which the unbridled race for power, money, and pleasure is the cause of so much distrust, violence, and loneliness, Sister Bakhita has been given to us once more by the Lord as a universal sister, so that she can reveal to us the secret of true happiness: the Beatitudes! Here is a message of heroic goodness modeled on the goodness of the Heavenly Father. - Pope John Paul II