One of the greatest but often overlooked gifts given to us by the Catholic Church are the many saints canonized over the years. They are given to us as examples of hope during all possible combinations of human hardship we might find ourselves in. This group provides real examples of people who have overcome great tribulations, made great sacrifices and lived real lives faced with the normal temptations attributed to our human flaws.
Luckily for us, not only do they serve as role models of hope and witnesses of God's mercy, but they also serve as effective benefactors and intercessors on our behalf if we only take the time to get to know them, their lives and to ask for their intercession.
On February 8, we celebrate the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, a slave from the Darfur region of Sudan who eventually joined the Canossian Daughters of Charity in 1896.
Pope Francis today called for action in the fight against human trafficking and has appealed to government leaders to be strong in the fight against the scourge of human trafficking. You can read his message here.
Now, rather than give you a detailed history on St. Bakhita's life, our friends at Catholic Online have done a fantastic job summarizing her life in the video below.
In 1958, the process of canonization began for Josephine under Pope John XXIII. On December 1, 1978, Pope John Paul II declared her venerable. Sadly, the news of her beatification in 1992 was censored in Sudan. But just nine months later, Pope John Paul II visited Sudan and honored her publicly. He canonized her on October 1, 2000.
Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of Sudan, pray for us.