"O Lord, if I could fly to my people and tell them of Your Goodness at the top of my voice: oh, how many souls would be won!" (St. Josephine Bakhita)
St. Josephine Bakhita didn't realize it at the time, but she got her wish. Through her canonization she has encouraged all of Africa, especially women, to be strong and to persevere in their faith. Our "Sor Moretta" (little brown sister) has become a symbol of freedom for all those still enslaved, whether physically or spiritually.
St. Paul writes of slavery in his time, and what true freedom really is, freedom in Christ: "For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters. In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God." (1 Corin. 7:22-24) While Paul compares a life in Christ to slavery, it is the ultimate paradox, for we are liberated from sin and death.
What does it mean for us to be free as Christians? We can perform the most subservient task, and it becomes a joyful privilege; we can achieve the greatest success, but be freed from our pride. Knowing Christ turns our world upside down: we decrease and Love increases.
"Rejoice, all of Africa! Bakhita has come back to you: the daughter of the Sudan, sold into slavery as a living piece of merchandise, and yet still free; free with the freedom of the saints." (Pope John Paul II)
St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us!