Thursday, February 08, 2024

Feast Day of Saint Josephine Bakhita - From Slave To Patron Saint of Human Trafficking

Today is the Feast Day of Josephine Bahkita. She is the Patron Saint of Human Trafficking

She is an illustration of the Transitive Property of Hate  a shining ray of hope for human trafficking victims and an inspirational demonstration of how a victim can recover from their trauma and become whole again.

Josephine Bakhita was a Sudanese-born slave who became a Roman Catholic Canossian nun in Italy, living and working there for 45 years. In 2000, she was declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church

Bakhita was born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan - Darfur, (Arabic: “Land of the Fur”) historical region of the Billād al-Sūdān (Arabic: “Land of the Blacks”), roughly corresponding to the westernmost portion of present-day Sudan.

When she was 7–8 years old, she was seized by Arab slave traders, who had abducted her elder sister two years earlier. She was forced to walk barefoot about 600 mi to El-Obeid and was sold and bought twice before she arrived there. Over the course of twelve years  she was sold three more times.

In El-Obeid, Bakhita was bought by a rich Arab who used her as a maid for his two daughters. They treated her relatively well, until after offending one of her owner's sons, the son lashed and kicked her so severely that she spent more than a month unable to move from her straw bed. Her fourth owner was a Turkish general. She had to serve his mother-in-law and his wife, who were cruel to their slaves. Bakhita says: "During all the years I stayed in that house, I do not recall a day that passed by without some wound or other. When a wound from the whip began to heal, other blows would pour down on me.

In 1883 she was sold to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan. Two years later Legnani took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice’s Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine.

When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian Sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine’s behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885.

Saint Josephine is  Patron Saint of Human Trafficking

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, Patron Saint of Doctors, Mothers, and Unborn Children.

Saint Joseph is patron saint of the uborn. Since he was  chosen by God to name His own Son, and since he was told the specific name to give while the child was still in the womb, he is a most fitting model and patron for this important, but difficult step.

Saint Josephine pray for us.  Pray that hatred in all its forms will not prevail.

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