St. Josephine Bakhita, FDCC
Feast Day: February 8
Born: circa 1869, in Olgossa, Sultanate of Darfur (modern-day Sudan)
Died: February 8, 1947, in Schio, Italy
Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of 7, sold into slavery and given the name Bahkita, which means fortunate. She was resold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan.
Two years later, he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice's Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine.
When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian Sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine's behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885.
Josephine entered the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well-loved by the children attending the sisters' school and the local citizens.
Josephine was beatified in 1959 and canonized eight years later. Bakhita is the patron saint of Sudan, South Sudan and human-trafficking survivors.
Bakhita Community Staff Leadership
Frassati Community Student Leadership
Student 1 & Student 2