In 1869, a little girl was born in Sudan in Africa. As a child she was kidnapped into slavery. This experience was so frightening that she could not even remember her name. So, her kidnappers named her Bakhita. The name Bakhita means “fortunate.”
An Italian official, Callisto Legnani, purchased Bakhita. For the first time since she had been kidnapped, she was treated with care, rather than being beaten. When the time came for the Italian consul to return to Italy, he brought Bakhita with him. Once there, Legnani left Bakhita with Augusto Michieli and his wife. When the Michieli’s daughter, Mimmina, was born, Bakhita became her caretaker and friend.
When the Michielis went to Suakin to run their large hotel, they left both Mimmina and Bakhita with the Canossian Sisters at a convent in Venice. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God. When the Michielis returned, Bakhita asked to remain at the convent with the Sisters. She became a Catholic and was given the name “Josephine.”
On December 8, 1896, Josephine Bakhita became a Sister at the convent and committed her life to God forever. For the next 50 years, she served the Schio convent community by cooking, sewing, and attending to the door. When she was on duty at the door, her friendly, sweet voice was pleasing to children, comforting to the poor, and encouraging to others.
As she grew older, Mother Bakhita suffered greatly in sickness. She died on February 8, 1947, at the Canossian convent in Schio, surrounded by the other Sisters. She was named a saint of the Church on October 1, 2000, by Pope John Paul II.
Connecting to Be My Disciples®
Grade 1, chapter 22
Grade 3, chapter 18
Grade 6, chapter 19
Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
Grade 2, unit 1
Grade 6, unit 5
The Story of Jesus, Unit 1