St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869. She was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Bakhita was not the name she received from her parents at birth. The fright and the terrible experience she went through made her forget the name her parents gave her. Bakhita, which means “fortunate”, was the name given to her by her kidnappers
Sold many times in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum, she experienced the physical and moral humiliations and sufferings of slavery. In the Sudanese capital, Bakhita was bought by an Italian consul, Callisto Legnani. For the first time since the day she was kidnapped, she realized with pleasant surprise that no one used the lash when giving her orders; instead, she was treated with love and cordiality. In the consul’s residence Bakhita experienced peace, warmth and moments of joy, even though veiled with nostalgia for her own family whom, perhaps, she had lost forever.
She was later taken to Italy by the consul and providence led her to the Canossian Sisters of Charity of the Institute of Catechumens in Venice. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God, whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who he was” since she was a child. “Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see him, to know him and to pay him homage…”
After her baptism, she experienced the call to be a religious and to give herself to the Lord in the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa. For the next 50 years this humble Daughter of Charity, a true witness to the love of God, lived in the Schio community, involved in various services.
Mother Bakhita breathed her last on 8 February 1947 at the Canossian convent in Schio, surrounded by the sisters. And on 17 May 1992, she was beatified, and Canonized on October 1, 2000. She is indeed, a sign of Hope and Freedom from all forms of slavery!!!