We've spoken of the power in a name and the changes in identity of our African Saint: her tribe and family knew her given name; the slave traders who kidnapped her called her Bakhita; the Sisters who taught her and gave her new life knew her as Josephine. But only God knew all of her names, only He who appointed the heavens could know her through and through: "He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit." (Psalm 147:4-5)
She saw His creation and recognized her Savior: "Seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, I said to myself: Who could be the Master of these beautiful things? And I felt a great desire to see Him, to know Him and to pay Him homage..." God, in turn, saw Bakhita's humility, her dignity throughout all her ordeals and claimed her for His own. There is a beautiful passage from the prophet Zephaniah which surely describes Bakhita:
"But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord...Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has removed the judgment against you, He has turned away your enemies; the King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear." (Zephaniah 3:12, 14-15)
St. Josephine Bakhita took refuge in the name of the Lord, and He became her dwelling place. She could look up at the starry night and know she belonged to Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us!