St. Josephine Bakhita
Today, Catholic World Mission celebrates one of her patron saints, St. Josephine Bakhita. She lived a privileged life growing up. Quite possibly a life that many people dream of. Yet, by the end of her life she was thanking God for her kidnapping and subsequent life as a slave moving from owner to owner. She was moved from the Sudan to Turkey to Italy. St. Josephine experienced what many of us would regularly attribute to the life of a slave. She suffered inhumane owners, beatings, and torments of all sorts. A woman who suffered much throughout her life. She would say she suffered only until she found Christ.
St. Josephine is a woman for our present times. She was able to find the way to thank God for the sufferings she endured because they became the path for her to meet Jesus. Society would view St. Josephine’s path of kidnapping, enslavement, beatings, and being treated as an animal as a justification for anger and resentment. The light St. Josephine shines is the power of forgiveness by reformulating the experiences of the past in the light of Jesus and giving them a new meaning. The chains of her life became the light of Christ.
The final years of her life she spent as a professed sister of the Cannossian Sisters of Charity. She had been left in their care by her mistress. They introduced her to Jesus. When her mistress returned for her, she refused to leave and eventually won her freedom through the Italian court system. She was baptized and eventually joined the same sisters. What most stood out about St. Josephine Bakhita was the contagious joy she radiated throughout the remainder of her life.