Also known as
Giuseppina Bakhita; Madre Moretta; Sister Moretta
Born to a wealthy Sudanese family, she was kidnapped by slave-traders at age 9, and given the name Bakhita by them. Sold and resold in the markets at El Obeid and Khartoum, finally purchased in 1883 by Callisto Legnani, Italian consul who planned to free her. She accompanied Legnani to Italy in 1885, and worked for the family of Augusto Michieli as nanny. She was treated well in Italy, and grew to love the country. An adult convert, joining the Church on 9 January 1890, she took the name of Josephine as a symbol of her new life.
She entered the Institute of Canossian Daughters of Charity in Venice, Italy in 1893, taking her vows on 8 December 1896 in Verona, and serving as a Canossian Sister for the next fifty years. Her gentle presence, her warm, amiable voice, and her willingness to help with any menial task were a comfort to the poor and suffering people who came to the door of the Institute. After a biography of her was published in 1930, she became a noted and sought after speaker, raising funds to support missions.
1868 at Oglassa, Darfur, Sudan
8 February 1947 of natural causes in Italy
the lucky one; fortunate ( = bakhita); whom the Lord adds (Joseph)
17 May 1992 by Pope John Paul II
1 October 2000 by Pope John Paul II at Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy; thought to be the only saint originally from Sudan
Patron Saint of the Sudan