Friday, February 8, 2013

From slave to servant

    Last year on this date I spoke of Saint Josephine Bakhita and of my ties to this newer saint.  She died, as I pointed out, a few months before I was born in 1947 and her canonization in Rome on October 1, 2000 was an event that I was honored to have attended.  Her story is one of inspiration and quiet resolve. 

     She was born in 1879 in the Sudan and raised in the Islamic faith.  At seven she was kidnapped and sold into the slave trade where she had a number of owners before being purchased by the Italian Consul at the age of twelve.  She came to Italy with the family as a servant and nanny for their children, and there encountered the Christian faith.  Interested in Christ, she received instructions, an education, baptism and eventually freedom.  She entered a Religious Community of women, the Canossian Daughters of Charity in 1896 where she served the Lord and her Sisters as cook, seamstress, and greeter over the years, as well as sharing her musical gifts with Community and her students.  Her life is an example of a bonded slave who through freedom granted her by others but most importantly by Christ through the Church came to serve others with love, simplicity and joy.  Slave no more, she gladly embraced the role of servant.  And because of that we call her a saint of God and a "model of freedom".

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