Franciscan AdJUSTment Focus: Saint Josephine Bakhita

Paul Keggington

May 17, 2013

In this month of May and near the vigil of Pentecost Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy offers Saint Josephine Bakhita as a model of someone who lived Gospel justice.

Saint-Josephine-BakkitaLet us rejoice in the faith journey of Saint Josephine Bakhita. Bakhita, translated “the fortunate one”, was born in Sudan in 1869.  At the age of 9 she was kidnapped and passed as a slave from one master to another.  She was treated brutally time and time again.  At last she was sold to an Italian family.  She was charged with the care of their baby and eventually moved them to Italy where she accompanied the little girl to boarding school.  The sisters at the school were the vehicle by which Bakhita first heard the Gospel and learned that she was created for freedom.

When the family prepared to return to Sudan, Bakhita, strengthened by her newfound faith, stood firm in her decision to remain in Italy.  She was soon baptized and eventually entered religious life.  She spent her years cooking, sewing, serving as sacristan and doorkeeper.  She proclaimed that no task was unimportant when performed for God, her newest and best Master.  At the end of her life, when she was no longer able to walk, a bishop asked her what she did all day in her wheelchair.  She replied, “What do I do? Exactly what you are doing—the will of God.”

Consider:  Did I set anyone free today?  Did I appreciate the dignity of my work today as I completed it for the Master?

Pray:  Jesus, Master, accept our simple works of this day and clothe them in the knowledge that they were done according to your will, we pray…

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