Friday, November 8, 2013

National Black Catholic History Month: St. Josephine Bakhita

(The video above is a Portuguese-language film about St. Josephine Bakhita's life)

The woman who came to be known as Josephine Margaret Bakhita was born in the Darfur region of the Sudan circa 1869. She was kidnapped by slavers while still a child and sold several times, the last time to an Italian consul living in Khartoum, Sudan.

When the consul and his family returned to Italy, Bakhita went with them. In her early 20s, she became a Catholic. By her late 20s, she told her owners that she wished to officially join the Canossian Sisters. By 1896, she had professed her vows. She served the community as a cook, doing embroidery and attending to the door, according to Catholic Online.

Bakhita died on Feb. 8, 1947. Her last words were said to be "Our lady, our lady," in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

She was canonized on Oct. 1, 2000. During her canonization Mass, Pope John Paul II described her as "a shining advocate of genuine emancipation." Her feast day is Feb. 8, the anniversary of her death.

Follow my National Black Catholic History Month tag for more information about black Catholic notables.

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