St. Francis church in the snow in February

St. Josephine Bakhita

St. Josephine Bakhita"Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!"

Josephine was born in the village of Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan. At the age of 7 she was kidnapped and sold into slavery. She was forced to walk barefoot for 600 miles before getting to the slave markets. She had multiple masters over the years. Many of her masters beat her to the point that she couldn't move for days and as soon as her wounds were healed they would beat her again. One of her master's wives ordered her to be whipped until her body was scarred. She was whipped and salt was applied to the wounds to cause scars. In 1883 was sold to an Italian consul who took Josephine to Italy where she worked for his friend Augusto Micheli as a nanny. As a nanny she lived with the Canossian sisters and she decided to be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. The Micheli's planned on returning to Africa but Josephine wanted to remain with the sisters. They went to court and the Canossian sisters fought for Josephine's freedom. The judge concluded that as slavery was illegal in Italy, Josephine was a free woman and did not have to return to Africa. Josephine became a sister in 1896 and over the years became well loved by the children attending the school run by the nuns as well as the entire town. She was known for her gentle and charismatic nature. She is the patron saint of Sudan and her feast day in February 8th.

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