Saint Josephine Bakhita’s journey from a life of profound suffering to sainthood is a remarkable testament to resilience and faith. Born into a wealthy Sudanese family in 1869, her childhood was abruptly shattered at the age of 7 when she was kidnapped by slave traders. Subjected to severe humiliation and physical abuse, she was sold multiple times in the slave markets of El Obeid and Khartoum. The name “Bakhita,” meaning “the lucky one,” was cruelly bestowed upon her by her captors, a name that held a painful irony during her years in bondage.

Bakhita’s life took a pivotal turn when she was purchased by an Italian consul in the capital of Sudan. Unlike her previous masters, he treated her with kindness. When he and his friend, Mr. Augusto Michieli, returned to Italy, Bakhita accompanied them. In Italy, she found a new role as a nanny and companion to the Michielis’ daughter, Mimmina, experiencing a semblance of family life.

Her path to spiritual awakening began when the Michielis left for business in Suakin, entrusting Mimmina and Bakhita to the Canossian Sisters in Venice. It was here that Bakhita encountered the Christian faith, recognizing a God she felt she had always known in her heart. At 21, she was baptized, taking the name Josephine, and declared herself a daughter of God, marking the start of her new life in Christ.

Choosing to stay with the sisters over returning to the Michielis, Josephine joined the Institute of Saint Magdalene of Canossa in 1896, dedicating her life to God. For 50 years, she served in the community of Schio, performing various tasks and ministering to the poor with her characteristic gentleness and humility. Despite suffering from a painful illness in her later years, Josephine’s faith remained unwavering, always responding to inquiries about her wellbeing with, “As the Master desires.”

Josephine’s final days were marked by a revisitation of her traumatic past, yet she found solace in her faith, passing away on February 8th, 1947, with a serene smile and invoking the Virgin Mary. Her life story, celebrated by Pope John Paul II at her canonization, serves as a powerful call to action against the oppression and violence faced by women and girls, embodying the spirit of true emancipation and the dignity of every human being.

Photo credit: Lawrence OP via Flickr
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  1. St Josephine help protect all women and children from oppression, violence and abuse. Help us celebrate maternity, the Divine Feminine, and all females. Help heal the wounds of slavery and help move us all into God’s light.

  2. Loving God, who rewards the humble with your own transcendent grace, you blessed St. Josephine Bakhita with remarkable charity and mercy, even for those whose hatred, greed and lust for power rendered them blind to her luminous humanity. May her prayers on behalf of the exploited, the victimized and the powerless rescue the captives, strengthen the oppressed and move the hearts and minds of the unjust. May your light flood into the darkest shadows amid our needful world, carrying with it the balm of your healing and unfathomable mercies — both for those innocents who suffer and survive within such sinful darkness and for the wayward souls who have brought them there.
    Renew, we beg, these broken hearts and wounded spirits. Have mercy upon a world disordered and disoriented by the nonstop assault of evil. We ask this through your son, Christ Jesus, whose own consecrated servant, Josephine Bakhita, bore the scars of exploitation and now resides forever before your throne, as patroness of these poor souls. Amen.
    St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.

  3. Intercede for us, O St. Josephine Bakhita — “girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights.”

  4. Saint Josephine Bakhita, pray for us! Amen! I praise the Almighty for rescuing you from the claws of the pagans and raising you eventually to the level of Saints! The Lord is Merciful and Mighty! We shall all continue to ask Him to do to us what He has done for St. Josephine Bakhita!

  5. The Life story of saint Josephine teach us being chosen by God and saying Yes to God calling .
    Saint Josephine suffering got her ready for calling .


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