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Saint Josephine Bakhita

Updated on June 30, 2010

About Saint Josephine Bakhita

Saint Josephine Bakhita hailed from the town of Olgossa, which can be located in the Darfur region of Africa. Her birth took place in the year 1896, and her childhood was filled with happiness. Her family was very well off because her father was the leading male of their tribe. When Josephine was just nine years old though, Arabs came and raided her tribes home. This was a traumatizing experience for her obviously.

The Arabs that attacked Josephine’s people were violent and they pillaged the entire village. Josephine was mercilessly beaten and was put through much agony. She could not even remember who she was when they were done, and to make matters worse they made her into a slave afterward. The man she was sold to found it amusing to brand and make markings on Josephine’s skin to show off his ownership of her and his other slaves. Her owner was a cruel soul, who had no mercy for anybody. He beat all of his slaves constantly and thought nothing of it.

St. Josephine Bakhita would have a nice turn of events in her life for a change though, when she was given by her abusive owner to another man. Her new owner, Augusto Michieli, was a much kinder man. He did not really think of her as a slave, but more as a helper. Josephine took care of his children and cooked for them. Augusto took his family out of the country for a long time and left Josephine in the local convent with the Canossian Sisters. This would prove to be a great benefit for Josephine.

When Augusto came back from his trip, he went directly to the convent and expected Josephine to return home with him to resume her duties. However, Saint Josephine would have none of that. At the time she was in Venice, and during her stay with the sisters she was informed that slavery was not legal there. She told this to Augusto and she was technically correct so she was left to do what she pleased. Josephine chose to join the Canossian Sisters at their convent.

Josephine studied under the sisters at the convent for a few years before legitimately joining the convent in 1896. Saint Josephine was given a home in Schio, a place nearby the convent. She would remain there for the most part, only traveling to the convent during the days. She went back to Africa one time on a missionary appointment, but returned a few months later.

Saint Josephine would become extraordinarily sick in her later years. She would endure visions of when she used to be beaten as a slave. These visions troubled her and really had an effect on her mental state. She would eventually pass away on the 8th of February in 1947. Pope John Paul II canonized Josephine a saint in October of 200. Her feast day falls on February 8th every year.


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