Saint Josephine Bakhita
Slave traders kidnapped Josephine when she was only 9 and gave her the name Bakhita, which means ‘fortunate.’ While it may seem a cruel choice, in time Josephine came to see beauty in it, stating, “if I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today.” Josephine was born in 1869 in the Darfur region of western Sudan. She was sold as a slave to the Italian consul, who treated her with kindness and warmth. When he returned to Italy with his family, she accompanied them, and in 1888 she went to live at the Catechumenate of the Canossian Sisters in Venice. She was baptized in 1890, taking the name Josephine. According to Italian law, since she had reached the age of majority, she was now free. She joined the Canossian Daughters of Charity and lived 50 of years of religious life showing compassion for the poor and suffering in Schio where she is still known as “our Black Mother.” She died in 1947, after a long illness, and was canonized in 2000. The first saint from Sudan, Josephine Bakhita is the patron of that country.
REFLECTION FOR THE DAY
In the beginning… a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
The creation story in Genesis was written thousands of years ago. Does the Declaration of Independence seem ancient? Genesis is many times older. Its writers didn’t know what science has since learned about the earth, water, sky, sun and stars. But oh, they knew the creative presence of God, the feel of the mighty wind stirring the depths, the tender force of the hand that forms and orders all things. They saw the poetic harmony among all the different parts of the world we know, and the beyond we are aware of but don’t yet know. The Spirit of “the beginning” is the Spirit of now. There is no other. And the gospel shows us that all this radiates in the person of Jesus—who brings the same wind, force, power, tenderness and healing presence by which God breathed life into us and our world. Lord, as you share with us your divine presence, may we, too, become radiant for others.