As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate, with an estimated 20 million victims worldwide, St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s. She was baptized, and after being freed entered the Canossian Sisters in Italy.
February 8th, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the fourth international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking.
Born in 1869 in a small village in the Darfur region of Sudan, Bakhita was kidnapped by slave traders at the age of seven. So terrified that she could not even remember her own name, her kidnappers gave her the name, “Bakhita,” which means “fortunate” in Arabic.
This was the last time she saw her natural family, being sold and resold into slavery five different times.
Eventually, she was purchased by the Italian consul Calisto Legnani, who later gave her to a friend of the family, Augusto Michieli, who brought her to Italy as a nanny for his daughter. In the Italian families it was the first time she was not mistreated.
After being freed, and remaining with the Canossian Sisters in Italy, she dedicated her life to assisting her community and teaching others to love God. She died on February 8, 1947. She was beatified in 1992 and canonized in 2000 by St. Pope John Paul II.
~ by Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency
The Missionary Sisters of the Stella Maris Province have a Corporate Stance against human trafficking. The Sisters stand in solidarity with the victims of human trafficking within the territories of the province and around the globe.
“Just as we welcome the immigrant in our midst, we condemn the use of violence, abduction, fraud, deception, coercion, or debt bondage to transport women and children from their homes for prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor and/or real or virtual slavery.”
To learn more about the Corporate Stances: http://www.mothercabrini.org/who-we-are/corporate-stances/stop-human-trafficking/