8 Feb: St. Josephine Bakhita

St_Josephine_BakhitaSt. Josephine Bakhita is a truly amazing saint.  Check out a biography of her here.

Here is a quote from St. Josephine about her life as a slave:

“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 6 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.”

About her tormentors she would say:

“If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today…”

COLLECT:

Deus, qui beatam Iosephinam a servitute abiecta,
ad dignitatem filiae tuae et Christi sponsae adduxisti,
da nobis, quaesumus, eius exemplo,
Dominum Iesum crucifixum constanti dilectione prosequi
et in caritate ad misericordiam propensos perseverare.

The tricky word here is propensos from propendeo.  If we can’t get this word right, nothing happens correctly in the last part of the prayer.  Propendeo basically means “to hang forth or forward, hang down”.  However, it comes also to mean, “to be well disposed, favorable”, “to be inclined”.  This gives us the adjective propensus , a, um.  This means that we are asking God to make us to be people who are propensi.  This is the tricky part.  We must have here something like “grant to us… (to be) well-disposed (nos esse propensos) to persevere…”.

LITERAL TRANSLATION:

O God, who brought blessed Josephine out of abject servitude
unto the dignity of Your daughter and a spouse of Christ,
grant us, we beseech You, by her example,
to follow the crucified Lord Jesus with constant love
and to be well disposed to persevere in charity unto mercy.

CURRENT (I think): [See update, below.]

Lord, hear the prayers of those who recall
the devoted life of the virgin Josephine Bakhita.
Guide us on our way and help us to grow
in love and devotion as long as we live.

UPDATE:

Sent to me by a priestly reader:

From ibreviary:

O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita from abject slavery
to the dignity of being your daughter and a bride of Christ,
grant, we pray, that by her example
we may show constant love for the Lord Jesus crucified,
remaining steadfast in charity
and prompt to show compassion.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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8 Responses to 8 Feb: St. Josephine Bakhita

  1. SaintsSQPNcom says:

    http://catholicsaints.info/saint-josephine-bakhita/

    [Don’t post mere links. Explain what they are even if they appear to be self-explanatory.]

  2. JJZ says:

    I believe that the translation you posted was the one in use until 2011 and that the current translation is “O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita from abject slavery to the dignity of being your daughter and a bride of Christ, grant, we pray, that by her example we may show constant love for the Lord Jesus crucified, remaining steadfast in charity and prompt to show compassion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”

  3. benedetta says:

    One of my very favorite intercessors. Pope Benedict XVI eloquently presented her witness to the truth and power of the Gospel in his 2007 encyclical, “Spe Salvi”, always very worthwhile to read and re-read.

  4. Right, JJZ. In the new English translation of the Roman Missal 3e:

    ICEL 2011
    “O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita from abject slavery
    to the dignity of being your daughter and a bride of Christ,
    grant, we pray, that by her example
    we may show constant love for the Lord Jesus crucified,
    remaining steadfast in charity and prompt to show compassion.

    Formatted for line-by-line comparison with Fr. Z’s slavishly literal translation.

  5. taffymycat says:

    i have loved her since i first read of her 5 yrs ago. i wish there were an adequate biography/film about her. i havent seen the current film on her but had read less than enthusiastic reviews. her life was service and love; she was not a revlutionary a leader, she was the essence of humility…the common denominator of the greatest saints.

  6. dans0622 says:

    Horrifying treatment. Unimaginable. Her response to it is also, in a sense, unimaginable. Amazing.

  7. There is a shelter for survivors of human trafficking in Nigeria that is run by religious sisters. It is called Bakhita Villa.

    Today we began a fundraiser for them. Please, consider starting your Lenten almsgiving early.
    http://ptrs.mk/bakhita

  8. jlduskey says:

    I had the privilege of attending the Mass, said by Pope John Paul II, in May 1992, in which Sr. Bakhita was beatified. It was truly a great event; there was a large crowd, perhaps a million people, in attendance–including many religious sisters from her order. I will always remember her, and I am happy to see that she is remembered by so many others.