Sunday, January 17, 2021

Saints for Today: Josephine Bakhita, Nun (1869-1947)

Must Read

Legacy of Love: Mother Teresa’s Sisters Uplift the Unwanted People of Gallup

“Mother Teresa always said 'we are here for poorest of the poor', who have no one. They are fallen, so somebody has to lift them up."

A “Wonderful, Beautiful Experience”: Daughters of Charity Reflect on Years of Service

Called away to other assignments, the Sisters reflect on their time in the diocese, and the people they served here.

“Terror of Demons”: The Significance of the Year of St. Joseph

In this year of Saint Joseph, this title may well help us all to understand his particular patronage over the universal Church as well as his personal protection for all of us.
Dr. Jean Lee
Jean M. Lee, M.A., D.Min., is a licensed behavioral health and substance abuse counselor, founding a nonprofit, state-licensed behavior health counseling agency and Christian gift/book store. Volunteer work includes: Jail ministry, Legion of Mary membership, door-to-door evangelization, and writing a weekly newspaper column titled “Faith and Inspiration: Encyclopedia of Saints for Today.” A Catholic revert after 32 years away from the Church, she is devout in the Catholic faith, loves the saints, and lives a deeper spiritual/religious and more joyful life since returning to the Church.

Feast Day: February 8

Kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of seven by Arab slave traders, this Sudanese child (her original name is not known) received the name Bakhita, meaning “fortunate,” from her captors. Bakhita passed through five brutal owners, one of whom had her tattooed over her entire body, sparing only her face. After enduring years of cruelty and hardship as a slave in the human markets of El Obeid and Khartoum, Sudan, she was purchased by an Italian consul, Callisto Legnani, who emancipated her. He showed her for the first time in many years genuine compassion, warmth, and dignity. When Legnani departed Sudan, Bakhita asked permission to go with him, eventually entering into the care of a family as a nanny and then the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of Catechumens in Venice.

It was while with the Sisters that Bakhita first came to learn about God and had her first in-depth exposure to Catholicism. She had already experienced the Lord in her life, “without knowing who he was.” Under the care of the Canossian Sisters, she received a formal catechetical education and was baptized in January of 1890, receiving the new name of Josephine. She then requested permission to enter the Canossian Sisters, taking final vows in 1896. For the next fifty years she labored for the congregation and was especially beloved as the doorkeeper of the community, giving comfort and help to the many poor and sick who came to the institute for help.

In her final years she was often ill, but no one ever heard her complain. When asked how she was feeling she replied, “As the Master desires.” On her deathbed she became delirious and thought she was a slave again; she cried, “Please loosen the chains! They are heavy!” Bakhita never lost faith in Divine Providence. Even at the end of her life, she was asked if she was ready to go to heaven. She replied, “I neither wish to go nor to stay. God knows where to find me when he wants me.”

Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!”—Saint Josephine Bakhita

As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.”

Galatians 4:6-7

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Bunson, Matthew, Margaret Bunson, and Stephen Bunson. “Encyclopedia of Saints-Revised.” Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2003.
Craughwell, Thomas J. “Saints Preserved-An Encyclopedia of Relics.” New York, NY: Image Books, 2011.
Gallick, Sarah. “The Big Book of Women Saints.” New York, NY: HarperOne, 2007.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

A “Wonderful, Beautiful Experience”: Daughters of Charity Reflect on Years of Service

Called away to other assignments, the Sisters reflect on their time in the diocese, and the people they served here.

Advertisement

Other recent stories:

“Terror of Demons”: The Significance of the Year of St. Joseph

In this year of Saint Joseph, this title may well help us all to understand his particular patronage over the universal Church as well as his personal protection for all of us.

Bishop Wall Shares Prayer Intentions for 2021

The intentions specially selected by Bishop Wall for each month of the year are intended to give Catholics in the Diocese of Gallup a specific focus for prayer and consideration.

Moral Considerations Regarding the New Covid-19 Vaccines

While having ourselves and our families immunized against COVID-19 with the new vaccines is morally permissible and can be an act of self-love and of charity toward others, we must not allow the gravely immoral nature of abortion to be obscured.

Meet James Wurzbach, the diocese’s newest deacon

Not even a pandemic could dampen Wurzbach's spirit, whose journey to the diaconate was one of "patience and perseverance".

Advertisement

More Articles Like This