Loving God, who rewards the humble with your own transcendent grace, you blessed St. Josephine Bakhita with remarkable charity and mercy, even for those whose hatred, greed and lust for power rendered them blind to her luminous humanity. May her prayers on behalf of the exploited, the victimized and the powerless rescue the captives, strengthen the oppressed and move the hearts and minds of the unjust. May your light flood into the darkest shadows amid our needful world, carrying with it the balm of your healing and unfathomable mercies — both for those innocents who suffer and survive within such sinful darkness and for the wayward souls who have brought them there.
Renew, we beg, these broken hearts and wounded spirits. Have mercy upon a world disordered and disoriented by the nonstop assault of evil.
We ask this through your son, Christ Jesus, whose own consecrated servant, Josephine Bakhita, bore the scars of exploitation and now resides forever before your throne, as patroness of these poor souls. Amen.
St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.
Our Saint of the Day, Josephine Bakhita, should always be remembered in conjunction with the International Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking:
“One day I unwittingly made a mistake that incensed the master’s son. He became furious, snatched me violently from my hiding place, and began to strike me ferociously with the lash and his feet. Finally he left me half dead, completely unconscious. Some slaves carried me away and lay me on a straw mat, where I remained for over a month. A woman skilled in this cruel art [tattooing] came to the general’s house … our mistress stood behind us, whip in hand. The woman had a dish of white flour, a dish of salt and a razor. … When she had made her patterns; the woman took the razor and made incisions along the lines. Salt was poured into each of the wounds. … My face was spared, but six patterns were designed on my breasts, and 60 more on my belly and arms. I thought I would die, especially when salt was poured in the wounds … it was by a miracle of God I didn’t die. He had destined me for better things.”
—St. Josephine Bakhita
Silas Henderson notes:
The horrors of slavery are not simply an unfortunate reality of the past. Today, millions around the world are enslaved, victims of human trafficking or trapped in cycles of abuse, addiction and neglect. These modern-day slaves — most often children and women — are used and exploited for the benefit and gain of others, and some spend their entire lives never knowing the basic human freedoms that we so often take for granted.
Today, as we remember the life and powerful witness of St. Josephine Bakhita and mark the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, take time to learn about the realities of human trafficking and how you can help in the struggle to end slavery in our day.
Finally, pray for Pope Francis as he meets Patriarch Kirill. Will ending human trafficking be on the agenda?