St. Josephine Bakhita, Patron Saint of Victims of Human Trafficking

The Catholic Church marks February 8th as the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita. Patron
Saint of Sudan and those enslaved, St. Josephine is invoked for victims of human trafficking.  Born in southern Sudan around 1869, she was kidnapped and sold into slavery as a young girl.   The tragedy caused her to forget the name she was given by her parents. Bakhita, which means, “fortunate one” was the name given to her by her kidnappers.  Purchased by an Italian diplomat, she was sent to Italy to work as a maid. It was there that she came to know about God whom, “she had experienced in her heart without knowing.” In 1890, she was baptized and received the name Josephine.   Soon after, the family alerted Bakhita that they would return to Africa and they insisted she return with them.  Bakhita refused and with the support of the Cardinal of Venice she won her freedom.  Josephine Bakhita was canonized in 2000. Pope John Paul II said of her,

“In St. Josephine Bakhita we find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation.The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but firm resolve to work effectively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights.”

~ From the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Update, Jan 15, 2015  by CMC missioner Melanie Paccillo

To learn more about the life of St. Josephine Bakhita, watch the very powerful movie,  Bakhita:  From Slave to Saint.    Cabrini College Affiliates can check out the dvd at Holy Spirit Library.

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