CNEHT Newsletter February 2017
On February 8, we celebrate the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of human trafficking victims.
THE BAKHITA INITIATIVE
SAINT JOSEPHINE BAKHITAThis special Initiative is named after Josephine Bakhita, who was born in 1869 in Darfur, Sudan. When she was seven, she was kidnapped by Arab slave traders. She was so traumatized by the brutality of her captors, that she could not remember her own name- and was mockingly dubbed “bakita”- the fortunate one. At age13 her cruelest torturer left her permanently scarred. Her final owner brought her to Italy and when the family had to go away on business, they left Bakhita along with their own child in the care of the Carossian Sisters in Venice. In 1890 she asked to be baptized and received the name Josephine. When the family returned to reclaim her, Josephine resisted. The court upheld her freedom, since slavery was not recognized under Italian law. In 1896 she took her vows as a Carossian Sister and for the next fifty years lived a quiet, prayerful life in one of their convents in northern Italy. Josephine Bakhita died in 1947 and was the first Sudanese to be proclaimed a saint in 2000. Read more