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2022 Assembly

 

8th February, Feast of Saint Bakhita who Was a Slave until Aged Twenty

 

A brief profile of the life of St. Josephine Bakhita, Witness of Hope

St. Josephine Bakhita
St. Josephine Bakhita

In 1869, Josephine Bakhita was born in Darfur, in the Sudan. In 1878, at the tender age of nine, she was kidnapped by slave traders and was so traumatised at being kidnapped from her family that she could not even recall her name, so the slave traders named her “Bakhita”, meaning the “fortunate one”.
Over the next seven years at the slave markets in Sudan, young Bakhita was sold and re-sold into slavery, enduring severe beatings and hardship until she was bought by an Italian merchant for the Italian Consul in Sudan in 1885. Two years later, Bakhita travelled with the Consul to Italy where she was formally introduced to the faith by the Canossian Religious Sisters, where she experienced healing from the deep traumas of abduction, slavery and war. With the sisters, Bakhita came to understand a totally different meaning to the word “master”. She learned that another kind of master or Lord existed, a master who is kind, understanding and loves unconditionally. This master is the Lord of all lords and is the living witness to God’s infinite love for each of us. For Bakhita, the most powerful message of all was the fact that she was known and loved and just like her, this master had himself been flogged and now He awaited her “at the Father’s right hand”. With such love and hope, Bakhita knew she was no longer a slave, she was a free child of God, stating “I am definitely loved and whatever happens to me-I am awaited by this love. And so my life is good”.
In 1896, Bakhita was professed and congregational records show that she was gentle in spirit and most loving towards her fellow sisters and students, whom she served faithfully for the remainder of her life until she died in 1947.
Despite being a slave who worked for different masters, her spirit was always free and through her growing faith, she found the grace to accept God as the ultimate Master. Her constant mantra was “Be good, love the Lord and pray for those who do not know Him”. Her humility, simplicity and constant smile won the hearts of all citizens as she travelled around Italy in order to share the liberation she had received through her encounter with the God of Jesus Christ. She made God known and loved through sharing about her life experiences, the challenges encountered, her dreams, hopes and fears. Through her example and witness of hope, Bakhita became a source of uplift and is a shining light for all who are oppressed and victimised by human slavery.
We can try and follow her example, to have a powerful faith, to serve God and to do His will in order that those who are suffering, may find solace and hope for the future.
Bakhita was beatified in 1992 and canonised in 2000. Her feast day is the 8th of February, which is now designated by the Church as the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.
To download full text click here: St. Bakhita_a brief profile of her life_ENG
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Première of Bakhita’s Prayer in London, a documentary film by Ten Ten

 

Bakhita's Prayer
Bakhita’s Prayer

The Ten Ten Theatre at Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden, London, premièred the documentary film Bakhita’s Prayer on the 8th of February 2015, in honour of Saint Bakhita and to draw attention to the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking.
Bakhita’s Prayer is a twenty six minute documentary film which follows a group of nineteen year old students from Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith, West London, who are on a quest to understand the issue of Modern Slavery and what they can do to stop it.
The students are taken on a journey which includes watching the powerful TenTen play This is my Body; meeting Cardinal Vincent Nichols, to discuss The Bakhita Initiative; deepening an understanding of modern slavery with Sr. Patricia Mulhall, representative of TRAC and member of RENATE; talking to a survivor of trafficking in the UK and learning about the life and spirituality of Saint Josephine Bakhita.
A two minute preview of the film, which is intended for use with schools and Parishes is available at the Ten Ten Theatre website: Bakhita’s Prayer.
Activate the Blog Posts beneath the film clip, for first-hand insight into the students’ understandings and responses to the film.
 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person
 

Light Dispelling the Darkness of Human Trafficking

 

The First International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Trafficking,

8th February 2015

Individuals, friends, families and communities were united in prayer on the 8th of February, in response to Pope Francis’ invitation to the world, to honour the first international Day of Awareness and Prayer against Trafficking, on the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita.
Here are samples of events that took place, throughout the RENATE Network.
In Albania, Bishop Frendo, OP presided over a very special Liturgy which was prepared in honour of St. Bakhita. The theme of ‘’Light Dispelling the Darkness of Trafficking’’ communicated a very hopeful message to all who attended. Prayer cards were distributed and people joined in prayer together. After the ceremony, there were conversations about how to be more proactive in working against human trafficking.
Press releases with resources have been circulated in countries worldwide, by numerous organisations working to combat human trafficking.
These resources, inter-faith prayer services, prayers, songs and intercessions are readily accessible to all who wish to avail of them, on the public domain of the RENATE website: Resources in Various Languages.
In the UK, members of RENATE marked the day by submitting writing on the life and story of Saint Bakhita that featured in parish newsletters. Prayer cards for the victims of human trafficking were distributed at Churches. Silent vigils were observed and prayer groups convened.
Morning Mass, broadcast from Brentwood Cathedral gave special mention to the day in which Fr. Martin Boland gave his homily on Bakhita’s life: Sunday Worship in Brentwood Cathedral, 8th February 2015 (the text  is available on screen, beneath the recording).
Caritas Slovakia organised a prayer service on the occasion of the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.This prayer service took place at the Jesuit Church in Bratislava on Sunday, 8th February 2015.
Caritas Slovakia has been helping the victims of human trafficking for seven years and took this opportunity to join the world in prayer for more than 21 million women, men and children who suffer from modern slavery.
The prayer service, broadcast live on the national radio, was accompanied by the songs of Taize, performed by the professional church choir Chorus Salvatoris. Initial introductory words and opening prayers were followed by Psalms and stories of trafficked Slovak victims. Candles of hope were placed on each continent of the world map symbolizing the global extent of human trafficking. Then intercession prayers were read for particular and all victims, but also for traffickers, pimps, government and church representatives as well as for all of us to be able to face the globalisation of indifference with globalisation of solidarity. All participants then lit candles for freedom and dignity. Images of St. Josephine Bakhita printed on a prayer card, were distributed to all participants.
Together with the Dutch Conference of Religious, the SRTV in the Netherlands, devised inter-faith prayer services, comprising prayers, hymns and intercessions to share with the churches and congregations throughout the Netherlands and also Belgium. The national broadcasting station also featured these services, in the Netherlands.
In Romania, the opportunity was taken on the 1st of February, at the official opening day for the Year of Consecrated Life, to share fliers, prayer cards and information in preparation for the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking, with representatives from all the religious orders present at the official opening. These were then distributed at the parish Masses or prayer services  dedicated to the victims of human trafficking in and from Romania.
The award winning Ten Ten Theatre Company in London, premièred a specially commissioned film of the Saint Bakhita story and human trafficking, which was screened in London on her feast day, 8th February. The twenty-six minute documentary film follows a group of nineteen year old students from Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith, West London, who are on a quest to understand the issue of modern slavery and what they can do to stop it. A two minute preview of the film is available on the Ten Ten Theatre website: Bakhita’s Prayer.
The Ten Ten Theatre Company have worked with The Medaille Trust as well as TRAC UK for the past eighteen months, in the making of this documentary film. Previously, the theatre group produced a one-woman play on human trafficking entitled, This is my Body, written by Martin O’Brien, founding member of the Company.
The Fundación Amaranta in Majorca, Spain, recorded the testimonies of the women they are supporting to recover from trafficking. Through their testimony, their voices will be heard and no-one can turn a deaf ear to their stories.
There are many, many more special events which have taken place and we will feature according as people share their news.
 

Enjoy the photo gallery shared with RENATE!

phot0 gallery world day of prayer

 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person