From Slave to Saint

The Story of St. Josephine Bakhita

From Slave to Saint

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The girl was walking in the fields some ways off from her home, when two strangers appeared and asked her to pick them some fruit. Brought up to show courtesy to adults, the nine-year-old hurried to obey. Not until she was in the forest did she realize it was a trick.

“I saw two persons behind me,” she later recalled. “One of them briskly grabbed me with one hand, while the other one pulled out a knife from his belt and held it to my side. He told me, ‘If you cry, you’ll die! Follow us!’ with a lordly voice.”

After a forced march, the girl was sold as a slave. “Bakhita,” her captors called her—Arabic for “Lucky One.”

Though the title was intended sarcastically, it came to express the girl’s own outlook on her life. In later years, she gladly accepted the name and wished for an opportunity to forgive her captors. Even more remarkably, she thanked God for the good that had come from her suffering. “If I were to meet those who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me,” she wrote, “I would kneel and…

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