st josephine bakhita was born in 1869 to a family of prominence in Olgossa, Darfur region (now Sudan). At about the age of nine, she was kidnapped and sold into slavery by Arab slave traders.
She was resold many times and suffered greatly at the hands of her masters. Finally, in 1883, she was purchased by the Italian Consul in Khartoum, Callisto Legnani, who treated her more humanely.
In 1885, she was transferred to Italy with the purpose of being a nanny for a family. In 1888, she was entrusted to the Canossian Sisters at their Institute of Catechumens in Venice.
The Canossian Sisters introduced her to the Catholic faith and her true Master, Jesus Christ. They helped her find a way to respond to the suffering of others and to live her own faith in the consecrated life.
On January 9, 1890, she was baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church, taking the name Josephine. She became a Canossian nun in December of that year and remained with the order for 42 years.
She died on February 8, 1947, in Schio, Italy, and was canonized in 2000. Her story is a testament to the power of God’s mercy and love, and to the graces He bestows on us when we turn to Him in prayer.
Her story is an inspiration to all of us who are enduring hardships and suffering. She reminds us of the power of the Holy Spirit to transform our pain into hope and our hatred into compassion.