MEMORIAL: FEBRUARY 8
St. Josephine Bakhita was born in 1869 in the Darfur (present day Sudan). At the age of 7, she was abducted by Arab slave traders and sold into slavery having many owners. She eventually was given to an Italian official. While he was tied up in matters around selling his estate, she had to stay with the Canossian Sisters who showed her great kindness. When he came back for her, at the urging of the Sisters, Josephine refused to go with Him. The matter went to court. Italian court ruled that because the British had outlawed slavery in Sudan before Bakhita’s birth and because Italian law had never recognized slavery as legal, Bakhita had never legally been a slave.
Josephine was then baptized and joined the Canossian Sisters. She was with the order for over 50 years. During her time there, she was known for her always cheerful disposition, she shared her story as a slave, and she prepared the sisters that were being sent to Africa for evangelization. St. Josephine Bakhita died on February 8, 1947, and was canonized on October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.