Someone told me to read the lives of the saints to help me in times of the dark night of the soul. Not just the saints but as well as people who had the courage to come back. These are ordinary people who managed to crawl out of their darkness with the help of others and divine intervention.
She was born in Sudan in 1869, kidnapped by Arab slave trades at age seven, sold and resold, suffered much trauma, abuse and brutality during her captivity that caused her to forget her own name. She was named Bakhita, meaning “the lucky one.” Life as a slave terrified her.Forgiveness:
“If I were to meet the slave merchants who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands. If what happened to me had never taken place, how could I have become a Christian and a religious?”
Eventually, in 1883 an Italian consul bought her, treated her kindly in his household, took her to Italy and was given as present to the wife of a friend. When the new owner left for Africa to attend to business matters, she gave the Canossian Sisters of Venice custody of Bakhita. Here she found out that she is a free person and remained with the Sisters, became a nun and known as the “Black Mother.”
Bakhita, what a life story she had at a tender age. How does one get over the abuse she received as a child? With the help of others that cared about her and discovered that she has a new Master, her God, she recovered.
During the millennium year 2000, Pope Paul II canonized Josephine Bakhita.
Fast forward, slavery is now called human trafficking, is alive and the evil goes on.
Delving further to the history of slavery, I am not amused and proud of this pope named Afonso V who authorized Portugal to conquer any person—Arab, Turk, or other—who professed the religion of Islam and pagans (Sacaren) in a disputed territory in Africa and consign them to “perpetual servitude.” The Portuguese were given the rights to acquire slaves along the African coast by force or trade. Slave trade became a legitimized industry as the Europeans colonized the African continent.