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Goodness and missionary zeal

"Saint Josephine Bakhita, from Sudan, kidnapped, sold as slave, liberated and became christian and religious in the congregation of the Canossians. Asked by an italian student of Bologna what would she do “were she, by pure chance, to come across her kidnappers”, Bakhita replied without the least hesitation: 

“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 become a christian and a religious?” 

Whenever the topic emerges, she would bless God’s providential mediation and, furthermore, she would excuse those who had caused her so much suffering: 

“I pity them! No doubt they were unaware of the anguish they caused me. They were the masters and I was the slave. Just as it is natural for us to do good, so it is natural for them to behave as they did behave to me. They did so out of habit, not out of wickedness.” 

When going through sufferings, she never complained. She remembered what she had to bear as a slave and said: “Then I did not know the Lord: I lost much time then, and so many merits. Now I must make up for this loss... If I were to kneel my whole life, it would not be enough to express my gratitude to the good Lord”. 

To a priest who wanted to see her reaction nad insinuated a doubt: “Suppose that the Lord does not want you in Heaven!”, she replied: “Well, if He does not want me in Heaven, let Him do what He likes, and let Him put me wherever He likes. When I am with Him and where He whises, I am perfectly fine. He is the Master, I am only his humble creature”. 

To another priest who wanted to hear more about her life story, she answered: “The Lord has loved me so much. We must love everbody... We must be understanding and compassionate!” - “Even with those who tortured you?” - “Why not? poor things! They did not know the Lord”. 

Asked about the death, she answered with great serenity: “When a person loves another very much, she greatly wished to meet that person. Why then should I be afraid of death? Death brings us to God”. 

When the Second World War had come to an end, the superior of the house, Sr. Teresa Martini, faced with many difficulties manifested her unrest, Bakhita answered calmly: “Dear Mother, why do you wonder that the Lord is giving you some trouble? If He were not to come to us for sharing some of his sufferings, to whom will He go? Did we not come to the Convent to do His will? Yes, I will pray, in all my poverty, but only that the Will of God be done”."  


(Composed by Saint Josephine Bakhita on the occasione of her consecration to God with the Final Religious Profession, December 8th,1896)  

“O Lord, I wish I could fly southward to my people, to preach to all, loudly, your goodness. Oh! How many souls I could win for you! First among all, my mother, and my father, my brothers and my sister, as yet a slave... I wish I could reach all, all the poor negroes of Africa. Grant, O Lord, that they, too, may know and love you!”  

Prepared by Pontifical University Urbaniana,
 with the collaboration of the Missionary Institutes