Soeurs de Saint-Joseph de Cluny
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      The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human (...)

The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking

February 8, 2020 - Memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita
During her last days she relived the painful days of her slavery and more than once begged: ‘Please, loosen the chains... they are heavy!’.


Saint Josephine Bakhita

Born c. 1869 in Olgossa, Darfur, Sudan
Died 8 February 1947, Italy
Year of beatification 1992 (17 May)
Year of canonisation 2000 (1 October)

Feast Day 8 February

St Josephine Bakhita, also known as ‘Mother Moretta’ (our Black Mother) bore 144 physical scars throughout her life which were received after she was kidnapped at the age of nine and sold into slavery.

Such was the trauma experienced that she forgot her birth name and her kidnappers gave her the name Bakhita meaning ‘fortunate’. Flogging and maltreatment were part of her daily life. She experienced the moral and physical humiliations associated with slavery. It was only in 1882 that her suffering was alleviated after she was bought for the Italian Consul. This event was to transform her life. In this family and, subsequently in a second Italian home, she received from her masters, kindness, respect, peace and joy. Josephine came to discover love in a profound way even though at first she was unable to name its source. A change in her owner’s circumstances meant that she was entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of the 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. She was received into the Catholic Church in 1890, joining the sisters and making final profession in 1896. The next fifty years of her life were spent witnessing to God’s love through cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to the door. When she was on door duty, she would gently lay her hands on the heads of the children who attended the nearby school and caress them. Her voice was pleasing to the little ones, comforting to the poor and suffering. She was a source of encouragement. Her constant smile won people’s hearts, as did her humility and simplicity. As she grew older she experienced long, painful years of sickness, but she continued to persevere in hope, constantly choosing the good. When visited and asked how she was, she’d respond: ‘As the Master desires’. During her last days she relived the painful days of her slavery and more than once begged: ‘Please, loosen the chains... they are heavy!’. Surrounded by the sisters, she died on 8 February 1947. (from ’Together Against Human Trafficking’)

Prayer

Prayer Vigil 8 February 2020 - Together Against Trafficking

Prayer Vigil Feb 8 2020


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International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking

Let us pray:

Saint Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured unspeakable hardship and suffering.

Once liberated from your physical enslavement, you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church. O Saint Josephine Bakhita, assist all those who are entrapped in slavery; Intercede on their behalf with the God of Mercy so that the chains of their captivity will be broken.

May God himself free all those who have been threatened, wounded or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings. Bring comfort to survivors of this slavery and teach them to look to Jesus as an example of hope and faith so that they may find healing from their wounds.

We ask you to pray for us and to intercede on behalf of us all:

that we may not fall into indifference, that we may open our eyes and be able to see the misery and wounds of our many brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity and their freedom, and may we hear their cry for help. Amen. (PREGHIERACONTROTRATTA.ORG)

Prayer card

Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny

Slavery of our Time

Blessed Anne Marie javouhey : Route of the Abolition of Slavery

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