Born in Sudan, Bakhita endured the anguish of kidnapping and slavery early in life. Then the Italian Consul bought Bakhita and she found peace for the first time in memory. Upon the Consul's return to Italy, Bakhita traveled with him and his friend, Augusto Michieli. The Consul left Bakhita in the care of Michieli's wife. Bakhita became babysitter and friend to Michieli's daughter, Mimmina. Tending to affairs elsewhere, the Michielis entrusted Bakhita and Mimmina to the Canossian sisters. In 1890, after time with the Canossians, Bakhita gladly accepted the sacraments of Christian initiation and the name Josephine.
Josephine became increasingly aware of God's presence and, now free, remained with the Canossians. In 1896 she joined religious life and for another five decades Josephine lived with the Canossians, cooking, sewing and tending the door. At the door, her amiable voice, which retained the soothing timbre of her African heritage, comforted the young children who attended the Canossian school.
While continuing her witness to faith, Mother Josephine Bakhita experienced painful illness once older. In agony, she recalled the dreadful days of her slavery and begged her nurse, "Please, loosen the chains ... they are heavy!" Freed at last from all pain, this woman of immense faith and forgiveness, breathed her last in the company of her beloved Canossian sisters saying, "Our Lady! Our Lady!"
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque, print and photo.)
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