Wednesday 18th July 2018

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Josephine Bakhita

January 5, 2016 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

There is a patron saint for almost any group of persons or causes. A patron saint is “a saint or blessed who, since early Christian times, has been chosen as a special intercessor with God for a particular person, place, community, or organization” (Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, p. 410). There are also some recently canonized saints who have been named as special patrons as well. St. Josephine Bakhita, canonized on October 1, 2000, by Pope St. John Paul II, is the patron saint of Sudan in Africa.
When the saint we know of as Josephine Margaret Bakhita was born, her parents gave her a name. However, because of the traumatic events of her life, that name has been lost. Josephine was born in Sudan in 1869, four years after the end of the Civil War that ended slavery in the United States.
As she and the rest of her family were working the fields near their home, the entire family was kidnapped. This terrifying ordeal left her so frightened that she could not remember her name, so her captors called her Bakhita, meaning “fortunate.”
The trials of the next stage of her life would hardly qualify her to be called fortunate. Bakhita was sold five different times as a slave. She was beaten, abused, tortured, and put in chains by each successive owner. At times she thought she would die.
In one instance she recalled that she was cut more than 100 times. These open wounds were then rubbed with salt, causing excruciating pain and scarring. The owners did this not to disinfect the cuts, but to ensure that the marks they were making would last the rest of her life.
During this period, despite the pain and heartache, Bakhita remained hopeful. As she gazed at the night sky, or looked around on a sunny day, she would wonder, “Who could be the master of these beautiful things?”
Providentially, Bakhita was eventually sold to Calisto Legnani, the Italian consul, when he was in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. After two years Legnani returned to Italy, taking Bakhita with him. Upon arrival in Genoa, Legnani gave Bakhita to Augusto Michieli, who had left Sudan with them.
Bakhita remained with this family, never before experiencing such love, patience, and kindness. No more was she tortured, beaten, or chained. Rather she was treated with dignity.
From Genoa, the Michieli family moved to Zianigo, near Mirano, Veneto, on the northwest coast of the Adriatic Sea. The couple soon had a baby, Mimmina, whom they entrusted confidently to Bakhita’s care.
When the couple bought a hotel in Suakin on the Red Sea, they had to leave Italy to run it. Before they left, they took Mimmina and Bakhita to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of Catechumens in Venice.
The Canossian sisters taught both Mimmina and Bakhita. Here for the first time, Bakhita learned about God, His creation, and the redemptive suffering of Christ, so similar to what she had suffered. Bakhita yearned to learn more about this God, this master of all things beautiful.
She continued to study and pray, finding great joy in the home of the Canossian sisters. When the Michieli family returned to claim their daughter, Bakhita did not want to leave the convent. The conflict increased until a court ruled that slavery was illegal in Italy and that, as a woman of legal age, Bakhita could decide by herself where she would go.
The family left for Suakin without Bakhita. The sisters continued to teach Bakhita about Christ and His Church, baptizing her with the name Josephine Margaret on January 9, 1890. After her Baptism she remembered joyfully her day of initiation into the Catholic Church by kissing the baptismal font whenever she passed it, exclaiming, “Here, I became a daughter of God!”
In 1893, she entered the novitiate of the Canossians. After more prayer and discernment, Josephine made her final vows at the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa convent in Schio. She still remembered her younger days when she marveled about the master of the stars, moon, and nature, and called our Lord her Master.
She lived the remaining 50 years of her life in the Schio Canossian community, performing her duties with joy and serenity: cooking, sewing, embroidery, and serving the poor. When it was her turn to answer the door, she greeted all with a welcoming smile, gently caressing the heads of the little children.
The young ones who attended the school particularly loved Sr. Josephine Margaret with her voice of African inflections. Likewise, the elderly, the infirm, and the poor found her voice sweet and comforting.
Her Canossian sisters also found her engaging, asserting that she had a constantly sweet nature and innate goodness always striving to teach others about Jesus Christ. She frequently said, “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who know Him not. What a grace it is to know God!”
As Josephine grew older, her life was once again filled with great pain. She once again suffered but now with complete surrender to divine Providence. When she received visitors during her final years of illness, her visitors would ask her how she was doing. Her simple and humble response to them was, “As the Master desires.”
The suffering grew worse. In her mind, she had returned to days of her enslavement. She cried out to have the chains removed. In the end, the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her and relieved her suffering.
Before she died, she cried out, “Our Lady! Our Lady!” She died with a beatific smile on her face and with her sisters in Christ, the Canossian sisters.
Born in Africa, kidnapped and separated from her family which was also sold into slavery, tortured by different masters, and finally rescued by an Italian family, she found Christ. She found hope for the future. Josephine Bakhita has become a profound example of hope. After all of her suffering, she held no bitterness for her captors. Rather shewas thankful for her suffering, since it led her to Christ.
She died on February 8, 1947 in Schio at the convent. Soon the townspeople surrounded the convent when they learned Sr. Josephine had passed away. Many have sought her intercession around the world. Her feast day is celebrated on February 8.
Dear St. Josephine Margaret Bakhita, pray for us. You know so well the tragedy of human trafficking. You know that there are persons of all ages, all countries who are being captured, enslaved, and mistreated. Comfort them in their agony. Show us how we can free them from their enslavement as you were freed from yours. Amen.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Election of the Superior General . . . Society of Saint Pius X

Election of the Superior General On July 11, 2018, Father Davide Pagliarani was elected Superior General, for a mandate of 12 years, by the 4th General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X. The new Superior General is 47…Continue Reading

Paradoxes and indicators of Capella’s and McCarrick’s cases

These days we will find out whether Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, the former advisor to the Washington nunciature that the Vatican sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for possession and distribution of “large quantities” of child pornography, will present an appeal…Continue Reading

Diocese led by pro-gay bishop says it’s ‘up to each parish’ whether to promote homosexuality

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic church in the heart of Appalachia has attracted media attention for the Gay Pride Month banner stretched across its front lawn. The local ordinary, Bishop John Stowe, has a record of collaborating with a…Continue Reading

Al Gore: Pope Francis a ‘moral force’ for solving climate crisis

(Vatican.news) Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, is one of the world’s most vocal defenders of the environment. His 2007 documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, won an Oscar and his Climate Reality Project recently hosted…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops heading to border to tackle family separation issues

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A delegation of Catholic bishops from across the country are heading to the border on Monday. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will lead the delegation in its visit to the…Continue Reading

Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality ‘evil’, McAleese says

The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is “evil”, former president Mary McAleese has said. Speaking ahead of her inaugural participation in the Dublin Pride event on Saturday, where she will march with her son Justin and his husband, the former…Continue Reading

Senate Will Vote Before Elections on Replacing Pro-Abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy

The United States Senate will vote before the elections this November on a replacement for pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made that announcement today shortly after the surprising but welcome announcement that the longtime abortion…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider respond to Pope Francis’ inflight intercommunion comments

ROME, June 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church — even in exceptional cases — by a Protestant or other non-Catholic constitutes a “lie” that betrays the Apostolic tradition and the Church’s constant practice…Continue Reading

German Bishops Publish Intercommunion Handout with a Rhetorical Trick

Today, the German bishops have published their very controversial pastoral handout which allows Protestant spouses of Catholics, in certain cases, to receive Holy Communion. Since Pope Francis, on 21 June, objected to a national bishops’ conference publishing such an official text, the…Continue Reading

Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

British pro-lifers say abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ harm women and children

London, England, Jul 12, 2018 / 12:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a decision from the United Kingdom’s High Court, two women are attempting to overturn a ban on prayer and public discussion of abortion near a British abortion clinic. On July 2, the High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. The zone prevents any pro-life gathering or speech, inc

Calligraphers face jail time for not promoting same-sex ‘weddings’

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Arizona calligraphy artists faced with fines and jail time for declining to take part in promoting gay “weddings” are asking the state’s Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the city of Phoenix’s law that compels them create artwork that violates their religious beliefs. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, face up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and three

Bishop Paprocki disagrees with US bishops’ support for unions that fund abortion, LGBT

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 11, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Hailed by free speech and religious liberty advocates alike, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that public sector employees can no longer be required to pay mandatory fees to support unions which promote causes and political activities – including abortion – to which they are opposed. The ruling has also exposed a significant rift among the nation’s Catholic bishops. Despite public sector unions’ unabashe

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s choice to succeed the pro-abortion, pro-gay Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the president announced Monday night. Trump praised Kavanaugh’s committment to “equal justice under the law” and called him a “brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style.” He is “universally regarded as…one of the finest legal minds of our time.” Kavanaugh formerly clerked for Kennedy. “Justice Kennedy devoted his career to…Continue Reading

Prof fired by Catholic university for defending marriage has huge court win

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, July 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The professor forced out by a Jesuit-run Catholic university for blogging about an undergrad student being assailed by his teacher for his having voiced defense of marriage has won in court. In a landmark decision Friday the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Marquette University violated John McAdams’ right to free speech when it suspended him for writing the blog post, and it ordered the University to restore McAdams immediately with his full rank,…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic … Old And New Tyrannies Borne Of Lust

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review… What Man Does Not Reverence, He Will Profane

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Society and Sanity, by Frank Sheed (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2013), 261 pp. $17.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or at 1-800-651-1531. This new edition of Sheed’s 1953 classic work of apologetics brings to mind the famous myth of Procrustes’ bed. The wicked king captures his victims then tortures them if their legs do…Continue Reading

How Vice Can Absorb Virtue

By DONALD DeMARCO Just as the Devil is at war with God, so too, vices are at war with virtue. The Devil wants people to believe that God does not exist. He also wants people to believe that neither does virtue exist. He would like to demolish virtue. One way of achieving this is to…Continue Reading

Henan, China… New Limits Imposed On The Religious Freedom Of Catholics

BEIJING (AsiaNews) — The Chinese government is approving increasingly restrictive measures against Catholics in the central province of Henan. As Eglises d’Asie reports, five new rules have been imposed which include the requirement of religious working in the province to collect data and information on their faithful. A priest from the Diocese of Zhengzhou reports…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Solzhenitsyn Remembered

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Congdon, Lee. Solzhenitsyn: The Historical-Spiritual Destinies of Russia and the West. DeKalb, Ill.: NIV Press, 2017; 163 pp. This book is descriptive of the prophetic voice of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), who was convinced that the West has set out on a road similar to that which “led Russia into the abyss.” Solzhenitsyn…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Sheep Without A Shepherd

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Jer. 23:1-6 Eph. 2:13-18 Mark 6:30-34 In the first reading today, God speaks a word of woe through the Prophet Jeremiah to the shepherds who mislead the Lord’s flock entrusted to their care. God says that these shepherds scattered the flock and drove them away and did not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . In Death The Church Gives Everything

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Funerals, as many priests have learned, can often be pastorally challenging and problematic episodes. Grieving family members who are not dealing with death on a regular basis by practicing their faith are suddenly confronted with its reality upon the passing of a parent or other family member. Parents who have to bury a child sometimes…Continue Reading

Martin Luther… The Man And The Myth

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 (Editor’s Note: As this October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Raymond de Souza is taking a break from his usual apologetics to correct the popular image of Luther.) + + + In the last article, I quoted from…Continue Reading

The Anatomy Of A Moral Act

By DON FIER Last week, as we considered the role that human freedom plays in the economy of salvation, it was immediately acknowledged that “man’s freedom is limited and fallible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1739). Free will, so wondrously bestowed upon man as an essential element of his great dignity of being created “in the image and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. What can one say to a teenage daughter or granddaughter who wears skimpy bathing suits? I know that is the “style” these days, but it seems wrong for many reasons. — M.M., Virginia. A. When our five daughters were teens, my wife and I ruled out the wearing of skimpy bathing suits, as well as skin-tight jeans or shorts…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Veronica Giuliani

By CAROLE BRESLIN In July, the month of the Precious Blood, the Catholic Church remembers saints by the name of Veronica. On July 12, the memorial of Veronica (meaning “true image”), the saint from the first century who presented her veil to wipe the face of Jesus, is celebrated. Three days before that, on July 9, St. Veronica Giuliani is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord had a special love for the poor when He walked this earth. At one time He rebuked one of the apostles, saying, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11). Rather than avoiding the destitute or shun the homeless, Christians are called to love them as we love ourselves. At the beginning of…Continue Reading