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St. Josephine Bakhita

Saint Josephine Bakhita


The girl who would become Josephine was born to a wealthy family in Darfur, now part of Sudan, around the year 1869. When she was still just a girl, she was abducted by Arab slave traders, who gave her the name Bakhita, meaning “fortunate”, and forced her to convert to Islam. She was sold and resold several times, regularly beaten and cruelly tortured by her Muslim masters, until she was eventually bought by an Italian consul, who treated her with great kindness and brought her with him to Italy when he fled the Mahdist uprising. In Venice, Bakhita encountered the Canossian Sisters and converted to Catholicism. She insisted on remaining with the Sisters, and the Italian courts ruled her slavery illegal. Now officially free, Bakhita was baptized as Josephine Margaret, and given Confirmation and Holy Communion by the future Pope St. Pius X. She became a Canossian nun, and for fifty years carried out the order’s charism of charity with great humility and devotion, until her death in the year of Our Lord 1947. Her last words were “Our Lady…Our Lady!”


Traditional Roman Martyrology for February 8th

ST. JOHN of Matha, confessor, founder of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity, for the redemption of captives, who reposed in the Lord on the 17th of December.

Also, St. Jerome Emiliani, confessor, founder of the Congregation of Somascha, who slept in the Lord on the 8th of this month. He was numbered among the Saints by Clement XIII, his feast being assigned to the 20th of July.

At Rome, the holy martyrs Paul, Lucius, and Cyriacus.

In the Lesser Armenia, the birthday of the holy martyrs Denis, Emilian and Sebastian.

At Alexandria, under the emperor Decius, the martyr St. Cointha, whom the Pagans seized, led to the idols and urged to adore them. As she refused with horror, they put her feet in chains, and dragged her through the streets of the city, mangling her body in a barbarous manner.

At Constantinople, the birthday of the holy martyrs, monks of the monastery of Dius, who, bringing the letter of pope St. Felix against Acacius, were barbarously killed for their defence of the Catholic faith.

In Persia, in the time of king Cabades, the commemoration of the holy martyrs, who were put to death by various kinds of torments on account of their faith in Christ.

At Pavia, the bishop St. Juventius, who strenuously labored in preaching the Gospel.

At Milan, the demise of St. Honoratus, bishop and confessor.

At Verdun, in France, St. Paul, a bishop renowned for miracles.

At Muret, near Limoges, the birthday of the abbot St. Stephen, founder of the Order of Grandmont, celebrated for his virtues and miracles.

In the monastery of Vallumbrosa, blessed Peter, cardinal and bishop of Albano, of the Congregation of Vallumbrosa, of the Order of St. Benedict, surnamed Igneus, because he passed through fire uninjured.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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