Wednesday 8 February 2017

# Saints

Saint Josephine Bakhita

The 8th of February is the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita. She is the patron saint of Sudan.

Saint Josephine Bakhita was born to a wealthy family near Darfur. At the age of nine she was kidnapped and forced into slavery. Her kidnappers named her Bakhita which means fortunate in Arabic. She was repeatedly sold, beaten and tortured by various owners until 1883 when she was purchased by an Italian consul who was kind and treated her well. He sent her to Italy as a nanny. In 1889 the Italian government declared her to be a free woman and she was illegally held as a slave. She then decided to stay in Italy and was baptised into the Catholic Church in 1890 and received her First Holy Communion from the future Pope St. Pius X. She took the name Josephine and entered the Institute of Canossian Daughters of Charity in 1895. She was known as "Our Black Mother" by the Italians. She was also known for her charity towards children and the poor. Her feast has been designated the International Day of Prayer to stop Human Trafficking.