Monday, February 8, 2021

Josephine Bakhita, “Fortunate” Daughter of God

Today we celebrate a woman who was empowered by the love of God, and gives hope to powerless women, abused women, trafficked women, and oppressed women and men throughout the world. 

She was abducted from her African village and native people of South Sudan in the latter half of the 19th century. She never remembered her birth name, but the Arab slave traders had called her "Bakhita," which means "lucky." There was nothing that looked lucky about the horrible abuse and mutilation that she suffered for years as a slave in Northern Sudan, but then she was brought to Italy, found Christ, and was baptized Giuseppina Fortunata ("lucky"). 

She became a religious sister and for 40 years worked at the convent and among the people simply but with profound charity. She not only forgave her oppressors, but said she would kiss their hands if she saw them, because they brought her to Jesus (ultimately, in God's plan). She lived a heroic and exemplary life of confidence in God, with the strength and humility of an immense self-giving love and dedication to the practice of the works of mercy.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, you now live in the glory of God's beatifying presence. But in today's world we need you more than ever. Please pray for us, and for our many needs, with all the compassion you showed in your earthly life towards everyone who encountered you.

Pray for us to follow Jesus with ever greater trust and love as we journey through this world, that we may attain the joy of eternal life.

Pray for us to turn away from sin, and devote ourselves to the love of God and service to one another, that his glory may shine more brightly in our lives and be reflected throughout our communities, peoples, and societies all over the world.

Pray for an end to the many degrading forms of violence that plague our world, especially the oppression of the poor, human trafficking, and child abuse. Pray for all women, especially those who suffer from lack of recognition of their full and equal dignity as human persons created in the image of God.

Pray for all those who are endangered in various ways by the ongoing COVID pandemic and the many distressing consequences related to it. 

Pray for an end to racism, and for an overcoming of all the interpersonal and social evils generated by it. 

Pray for your native land of South Sudan, for those suffering persecutions, hunger, the ravages of war in Africa and through the world, for an end to all forms of slavery, and for respect for the dignity and beauty of every woman and every man.

Pray for our homes, families, children, elders, and all those entrusted to our particular care. Pray for our perseverance, that we will never give up searching for God's will, and that we will trust in him when he shows us the way. 

Pray for us, that we might love and forgive our enemies out of the conviction that God loves us and them, and orders everything in his wisdom and mercy to the good.