St. Josephine Bakhita was born in the region and lived there before being sold into slavery.
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The life of St. Josephine Bakhita has inspired many people over the years, especially those in Sudan and South Sudan. While she spent most of her life in Italy, she was originally born in the Sudanese region of Africa.
Bakhita was born in the village of Olgossa, in what is now referred to as Sudan. She was taken by slave traders when she was around seven years old and remained enslaved for many years until she was bought by an Italian.
Her Italian master left Sudan in 1885, when Bakhita was 16 years old. She remained in Italy for the rest of her life, dying when she was 77 years old as a Canossian Sister.
Despite the horrible treatment she endured during the early part of her life as a slave, Bakhita had a firm faith in God and forgave her captors, saying, “If I were to meet those who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands. For, if these things had not happened, I would not have been a Christian and a religious today.”
Bakhita died on February 8, 1947 and was beatified by St. John Paul II on May 17, 1992 and canonized on October 1, 2000.
She remains the only native saint from Sudan to be officially canonized by the Catholic Church and is seen as the patron of both Sudan and South Sudan.