St. Josephine Bakhita

St. Josephine Bakhita

(1869 to 1947)

“What a grace to know God!”

During Black History Month, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon are recognizing the global contributions of Black men and women. The Sisters encourage us to reflect on their invaluable contributions to peace, religion, philanthropy, science and the advancement of human-kind.

Feb. 8 is the Feast Day of St. Josephine Bakhita – the Patron Saint of Victims of Human Trafficking.

Born into a prosperous family in Darfur (Sudan), around age 8, she was abducted into slavery and named Bakhita, “blessed.”

She survived six years of brutal treatment by her slave masters before she was purchased by the Italian Consul to Sudan. When his family returned to Italy, they brought her to Venice.

Once there, the Canossian Sisters were instrumental in her catechesis and conversion and her award of freedom by Italian courts.

At her baptism in 1890, she chose the name Josephine. When she entered the Canossian Sisters in 1893, she was called Sr. Josephine Bakhita. She served her God, her religious community and the people of Schio, Italy for more than 40 years.

Overcoming her experiences of slavery, physical mutilation and suffering,

St. Josephine Bakhita’s benediction to all was

“What a grace to know God!”

Her kindness was so well known that immediately after her death there were petitions for her canonization.

On Oct. 1, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Sr. Josephine Bakhita – the patron saint of Sudan and of the victims of human trafficking.

Today’s prayer:

St. Josephine Bakhita, whose love and hope

transformed the wounds of slavery into forgiveness,

pray for us.


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