The Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita is February 8!
Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869. She was kidnapped at the age of seven, sold into slavery, and given the name Bakhita, which means “fortunate” or “lucky.”
Even in the face of this grave injustice, Bakhita knew there must be a God. Seeing the sun, the moon, and the stars, she knew God existed and “felt a great desire to see Him, to know Him and to pay Him homage…” She felt drawn to the Catholic Church and was baptized Josephine Margaret Fortunata (for “fortunate” from “Bakhita) and confirmed in 1890. A few years later, Josephine sued for her freedom in Italian courts and won! She was finally free to show her brilliance and love to the world.
Jospehine gave her life to God as a Canossian sister. During her time as a religious sister, she assisted the community with cooking, sewing, embroidery, and welcoming visitors. She was well-loved by the local children and citizens who affectionately called her “Mother Moretta” (Black Mother). St. Josephine had a beautiful heart for God and served many in her community. She reminds us all to “be good, love the Lord, [and] pray for those who do now know Him.”
St. Josephine endured profound torture, abuse and suffering in her lifetime. It would have been easy for her to be filled with anger, resentment, and coldness. Instead – even though she had never been formally introduced to religion or taught about God or Jesus – she knew in her heart that there must be a loving Creator. She carried the cross of her hardship with grace and determination, and after winning her freedom, she formally dedicated her life to Christ. May we all experience the strength, peace, and trust in God that St. Josephine Bakhita possessed!
Time to Celebrate!
Good news! A festive feast doesn’t need to be fussy! Here are a few easy ways to celebrate the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita:
- Say a prayer to end all types of slavery that still exist in the world (child labor, human trafficking, forced child soldiers, forced labor, etc.)
- Sometimes we can become slaves to our sin. Break the chains of slavery by making a freedom chain. Cut out strips of paper and write a sin that you struggle with on each one. Make a paper chain out of the strips of paper. Hang the chain as a reminder to pray for God to release you from the temptation of sin. Break one circle every time you pray. Remember to ask for St. Josephine Bakhita’s intercession each time you pray!
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