PRETORIA JANUARY 31, 2017 (CISA) – The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) will celebrate Saint Bakhita Day onFebruary 8 to raise awareness on human trafficking in Africa.
“Let us celebrate the Day of St. Josephine Bakhita with honour, praying for our brothers and sisters who find themselves under the barbaric experience of being trafficked and all the victims of human trafficking…” said the bishops in a press statement.
“…and mostly let us pray for an end to Human Trafficking, especially by also praying for the conversion of the agents of this terrible practice,” added the bishops.
The plans include prayers and reflection, a marching parade, and Interfaith Service on 9 February.
“I am happy to note that the SACBC has proclaimed the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita on February 8 as a day of prayer and reflection on the continuing scourge of the abuse of women and children, particularly with regard to human trafficking. I think it is timely that we refer to this topic,” said Archbishop Peter Wells, the Apostolic Nuncio of Southern Africa during his opening session of SACBC Plenary on January 25.
St. Josephine Bakhita, who is the patron saint of Sudan, was born in Dafur, Sudan in 1868. She was captured at the age of 9 years, and was sold into slavery, first in her country and later to Italy.
After life as a slave, she eventually became a Canossian religious sister in Italy and worked for 45 years. She died on February 8, in 1947.
In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II, declared her a saint and February 8 was declared feast day of St. Bakhita. She is also a patron saint of victims of slavery and trafficked persons.