Saint Josephine Bakhita suffered horrific abuse as a victim of human trafficking, yet she treasured her life and is remembered for her love.
In 1877, as a young girl, Josephine was taken from her village in Sudan and forced to walk 600 miles to the market where she was sold.
Over the next 10 years, she was bought, sold, and regularly abused.
One of her owners even cut intricate designs onto her skin with a razor and salted the wounds, scarring her life.
Finally, as a young woman, she was freed in Italy through the intervention of the Canossian Sisters, with whom she spent the next 57 years as a vowed religious. But loved by her community.
She even lived to one day say: “The whole of my life has been God’s gift.”
It is clear why Josephine Bakhita is the patron saint of human trafficking: She was not defined by the abuse that she received, but by the love that she shared.
St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.