Today Christians Celebrate the Feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita

Saint Josephine BakhitaSaint Josephine Bakhita (1868-1947) Image: Cassie Pease Designs

(EWTN) When Josephine Bakhita passed away, thousands of Italians passed by her casket to pay respects to a simple Woman who had achieved great renown for her kindness–To this day, the people of Italy Schio honor now Saint Josephine, a former African slave with the title: ‘Nostra Madre Moretta’ which means Our Black Mother.

Born in Sudan, Olgossa in the Darfur region, according to Franciscan Media Josephine was kidnapped at the age of 7, sold into slavery and given the name ‘Bakhita’ which means ‘Fortune’ she was resold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, the Italian Counsel in Sudan Khartoum.

Two years later Callisto Legnani took Bakhita to Italy and gave her to a friend Augusto Michieli–Bakhita became a Nanny to ‘Mimmna Michieli’ who she accompanied to the ‘Venice Institute of the Catechumens’ run by the ‘Canosian Sisters’ — While Mimmina was in school, Bakhita felt drawn to the Catholic Church, she was later baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine.

When the Michieli’s returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmna and Josephine back with them, Josephine refused to go. During a subsequent 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 to do what she wanted and go where she pleased since 1885

Josephine entered the ‘Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa’ in 1893 and made her profession 3 yrs later. In 1902, Josephine was transferred to Italy, Schio, where she assisted her religious community through Cooking, Sewing, Embroidery and welcoming visitors at the door. Josephine soon became well loved by children attending the Sisters school and the local citizens–she once said:

  • “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him.
    What a great grace it is to know God.”

Josephine was Beatified on 17 May, 1992 and Canonized on the 01 October, 2000

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