St Giacuto St Gisela St Honoratus of Milan St Inventius of Pavia St Isaias Boner St Jacoba Bl Josephina Gabriella Bonino St Kigwe St Lucius of Rome St Meingold St Mlada of Prague St Nicetius of Besançon St Oncho of Clonmore St Paul of Rome St Paul of Verdun (c 576-c 648) Bishop
Martyrs of Constantinople: Community of 5th century Monks at the Monastery of Saint Dius at Constantinople. Imprisoned and martyred for loyalty to the Vatican during the Acacian Schism. 485 in Constantinople.
Martyrs of Persia: An unknown number of Christians murdered in early 6th-century Persia. Legend says that so many miracles occurred through the intercession of these Martyrs that the King decreed an end to the persecution of Christians.
Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lys / Our Lady of the Lily, Melun, France (13th Century) – 8 February:
The Royal Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lys / Our Lady of the Lys – The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This Abbey of Cistercian nuns was founded by Queen Blanche, Mother of King Saint Louis.”
The former Royal Abbey Notre-Dame du Lys, or Our Lady of the Lily, now in ruins, was once a Cistercian Abbey for nuns founded by Queen Blanche of Castile and her son, King Saint Louis IX, in 1244. The ruins are located along the centre of the Town of Dammarie-les-Lys, four kilometers downstream from Melun, in the south of the Seine-et-Marne. The town takes its name from the Chapel, meaning ‘the oratory of the Virgin next to the Abbey of Lys.’ Looted and converted into cattle pens during the French Revolution, the Abbey was then sold as a romantic ruin in 1797. The remains of the Abbey were made an historic monument on 30 December 1930. From 1226 to 1248, during the early years of the reign of St Louis IX, that is to say, the period immediately preceding the foundation of the Abbey of the Lys, many Cistercian Monasteries were founded and several Churches dedicated. The foundation of an Abbey like Our Lady of Lys, is very burdensome financially, requiring a significant capital contribution. Land must be purchased for the Monastery, buildings constructed sufficient for life and maintenance of a number of religious and of course a Church. On24 October 1227, the Consecration and Dedication of the magnificent Abbey Church that the Cistercians built in Longpont took place. The same year saw the creation of the Abbeys of the Treasury of Notre-Dame and Royaumont, as well as, the attachment of the Convent Panthémont to the order of Cîteaux. In 1236, Queen Blanche of Castile, had laid the foundations of Notre-Dame-La-Royale, Maubuisson, near Pontoise, so Saint Louis, therefore, assumed all expenses involved in the foundation of the new Abbey but left his mother in charge of the work. ‘Our Lady of the Lily’ would be the new house for Cistercian nuns outside Melun, a town which Blanche loved. The name was one they had agreed upon for the new Convent, a Convent where there would be prayers perpetually offered to God, for the sake of the Crusade that King Louis would soon embark upon. The Queen of France, Blanche of Castile, wife of King Louis VIII ‘the Lion’ and mother of King Saint Louis IX, died there on 27 November, 1252. There is a list of Abbesses of Our Lady of Lys beginning with Vienna Alix, Countess of Macon and the last Countess of Vienna, who died there on 23 August 1258. She had been widowed, when her husband died fighting in the Holy Land in 1234. The last Abbess was Jeanne Foissy, who was forced to leave by the revolutionaries on 3 March 1791. Blanche of Castile withdrew to Melun towards the end of her life, where she died in 1252, while her son Saint Louis was on a crusade with his wife Marguerite. She was buried at the Abbey of Maubuisson but her heart was later transported to the Abbey of Lys.
St Cointha of Alexandria St St Cuthman St Cyriacus of Rome St Dionysus of Armenia St Elfleda of Whitby St Emilian of Armenia Blessed Maria Esperanza de Jesus (1893-1983) About Bl Maria: https://anastpaul.com/2020/02/08/saint-of-the-day-8-february-blessed-maria-esperanza-de-jesus-1893-1983/ St Giacuto St Gisela St Honoratus of Milan St Invenzio of Pavia St Isaias Boner St Jacoba Bl Josephina Gabriella Bonino St Kigwe St Lucius of Rome St Meingold St Mlada of Prague St Nicetius of Besançon St Oncho of Clonmore St Paul of Rome St Paul of Verdun Blessed Pietro Igneus OSB Vall. (c 1020 – 1089) Cardinal Bishop St Sebastian of Armenia St Stephen of Muret — Martyrs of Constantinople: Community of 5th century monks at the monastery of Saint Dius at Constantinople. Imprisoned and martyred for loyalty to the Vatican during the Acacian Schism. 485 in Constantinople.
Martyrs of Persia: An unknown number of Christians murdered in early 6th-century Persia. Legend says that so many miracles occurred through the intercession of these martyrs that the king decreed an end to the persecution of Christians.
Thought for the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947)
Her kidnappers gave her the name Bakhita, meaning “fortunate.” Her life in captivity wasn’t quite so. Born in Darfur in 1869, Josephine Bakhita was taken by Arab slave traders when she was 9. Forced to walk 600 miles to southern Sudan, she was bought and sold before arriving in El Obeid. But of all the indignities Josephine faced as a slave—far too many to mention here—one in particular stands out.
Through a combination of branding and tattooing, Josephine suffered the traditional Sudanese practice where a pattern was cut into her skin with a razor. To ensure scarification, salt was poured into the open wounds. When it was finished, 140 intricate patterns were carved into her breast, torso and arm. She also faced countless beatings and lashings from a revolving door of owners as well as a forced conversion to Islam.
Left by her owner in the custody of the Daughters of Charity in Venice in 1888, Josephine finally found refuge. Baptised in 1890, she took her final vows in 1896 and spent the rest of her life in Vicenza as a doorkeeper and cook. She died in 1947. Beatified in 1992, she was Canonised by St Pope John Paul II eight years later.
During Josephine’s years as doorkeeper, Italians were taken by her cheerful demeanour. But the horrors of slavery troubled her the rest of her life. Her final years were marred by sickness. In a fevered state, she once pleaded with a nurse to loosen the chains that bound her wrists. But she never lost her belief in God. When visitors asked how she was feeling, Josephine’s token response to them was, “As the Master desires.”
That total abandonment to God would be Josephine’s legacy—and it is one we can work toward as 21st-century Catholics. As the season of Lent approaches, in this month of recognising our brothers and sisters, the victims of Human Trafficking, these words from St Pope John Paul II, who beatified her, ring true: “God used [Josephine] to teach us all the meaning of Jesus’ words: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.’”
St Josephine Bakhita,
Pray for all Victims of Human Trafficing and for us all!
The Holy Father’s Prayer Intention for February 2019
For a generous welcome of the victims of human trafficking, of enforced prostitution and of violence.
Let us pray:
Prayer to St Josephine Bakhita for Intercession Against Human Trafficking By Pope Francis
Saint Josephine Bakhita, you were sold into slavery as a child and endured unspeakable hardship and suffering. Once liberated from your physical enslavement, you found true redemption in your encounter with Christ and his Church. O Saint Josephine Bakhita, assist all those who are entrapped in slavery. Intercede on their behalf with the God of Mercy, so that the chains of their captivity will be broken. May God Himself free all those who have been threatened, wounded or mistreated by the trade and trafficking of human beings. Bring comfort to survivors of this slavery and teach them to look to Jesus, as an example of hope and faith, so that they may find healing from their wounds. We ask you to pray for us and to intercede on behalf of us al, that we may not fall into indifference, that we may open our eyes and be able to see the misery and wounds of our many brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity and their freedom and may we hear their cry for help. Amen
PRAYER FROM THE ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE WORLD DAY OF PRAYER, REFLECTION AND ACTION AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Quote/s of the Day – 8 February – The Memorial of St Jerome Emiliani (1486-1537) & St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) and the Fourth World Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons
” God wishes to test you, like gold in the furnace. The dross is consumed by the fire but the pure gold remains and its value increases. It is in this manner, that God acts with His good servant, who puts his hope in Him and remains unshaken in times of distress. God raises him up and, in return for the things, he has left out of love for God, He repays him a hundredfold in this life and with eternal life hereafter. If then you remain constant in faith, in the face of trial, the Lord will give you peace and rest for a time in this world and forever in the next.”
St Jerome Emiliani (1486-1537)
“When a person loves another dearly, he desires strongly to be close to the other: therefore, why be afraid to die?”
“The Lord has loved me so much: we must love everyone… we must be compassionate!”
“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.”
St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947)
“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.”
O God, when we hear of children and adults
deceived and taken to unknown places
for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour
and organ ‘harvesting’,
our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry
that their dignity and rights are ignored
through threats, lies and force.
We cry out against the evil practice
of this modern slavery,
and pray with Saint Bakhita for it to end.
Give us wisdom and courage to reach out
and stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits
have been so wounded, so that together we may
make real Your promises to fill these sisters and brothers
with a love that is tender and good.
Send the exploiters away empty-handed
to be converted from this wickedness,
and help us all to claim the freedom
that is Your gift to Your children, amen.
The FOURTH International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking in Persons under the Patronage of St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) – 8 February 2018
2018 theme of the Day of Prayer and Awareness:
“Migration without trafficking. Say yes to Freedom and No to slavery”
Speaking on the eve of the Day of Prayer and Awareness Raising against Human Trafficking, 7 February 2018, Pope Francis urged civil society and institutions to take concrete action to protect the victims and eliminate this terrible scourge that affects so many forced migrants and refugees.
Pope Francis noted that many migrants are forced to choose illegal channels of migration where they are submitted to “abuse of every kind, exploitation and slavery.”
He noted that criminal organizations that engage in the trafficking of persons make use of migratory routes to hide their victims among the migrants and refugees.
Pope Francis also asked for prayers so that “the Lord may convert the hearts of traffickers and give hope to those who suffer because of this shameful scourge so they may regain their freedom”.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know” said William Wilberforce, an English politician, philanthropist, theologian and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade who lived in the XVIII/XIX century.
Daily Prayer to End Human Trafficking
God of goodness and mercy, Rewarder of the humble, You blessed St Josephine Bakhita of Sudan with charity and patience. May her prayers help us and her example inspire us to carry our cross and to love You always. Pour upon us the spirit of wisdom and love with which you filled St Josephine Bakhita, by serving You as she did. May her prayers on behalf of those enslaved bring awareness and an end to this evil practice. May we too please You by our faith and actions, through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, amen.
Saint of the Day – 8 February – St Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947) and the FOURTH World Day of PRAYER AND AWARENESS AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF ST BAKHITA
St Josephine Bakhita F.D.C.C. (1869-1947) RELIGIOUS – Patron of Sudan and World Day against Trafficking in Persons. She was born in Sudan, was kidnapped and sold as a slave and became a CanossianReligious Sister in Italy, living and working there for 45 years. In 2000 she was declared a Saint by St Pope John Paul II.
Mother Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869 and died in Schio (Vicenza) in 1947.
This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping and slavery, bloomed marvelously in Italy, in response to God’s grace, with the Daughters of Charity.
In Schio (Vicenza), where she spent many years of her life, everyone still calls her “our Black Mother”. The process for the cause of Canonisation began 12 years after her death and on December 1st, 1978 the Church proclaimed the Decree of the heroic practice of all virtues.
Divine Providence which “cares for the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air”, guided the Sudanese slave through innumerable and unspeakable sufferings to human freedom and to the freedom of faith and finally to the consecration of her whole life to God for the coming of his Kingdom.
Bakhita was not the name she received from her parents at birth. The fright and the terrible experiences she went through made her forget the name she was given by her parents. Bakhita, which means “fortunate”, was the name given to her by her kidnappers.
Sold and resold in the markets of El Obeid and of Khartoum, she experienced the humiliations and sufferings of slavery, both physical and moral.
In the Capital of Sudan, Bakhita was bought by an Italian Consul, Callisto Legnani. For the first time since the day she was kidnapped, she realised with pleasant surprise, that no one used the lash when giving her orders; instead, she was treated in a loving and cordial way. In the Consul’s residence, Bakhita experienced peace, warmth and moments of joy, even though veiled by nostalgia for her own family, whom, perhaps, she had lost forever. Political situations forced the Consul to leave for Italy. Bakhita asked and obtained permission to go with him and with a friend of his, a certain Mr Augusto Michieli.
On arrival in Genoa, Mr Legnani, pressured by the request of Mr Michieli’s wife, consented to leave Bakhita with them. She followed the new “family”, which settled in Zianigo (near Mirano Veneto). When their daughter Mimmina was born, Bakhita became her babysitter and friend.
The acquisition and management of a big hotel in Suakin, on the Red Sea, forced Mrs. Michieli to move to Suakin to help her husband. Meanwhile, on the advice of their administrator, Illuminato Checchini, Mimmina and Bakhita were entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of the Catechumens in Venice. It was there that Bakhita came to know about God whom “she had experienced in her heart without knowing who He was”ever since she was a child. “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…”
Daughter of God
After several months in the catechumenate, Bakhita received the sacraments of Christian initiation and was given the new name, Josephine. It was 9 January 1890. She did not know how to express her joy that day. Her big and expressive eyes sparkled, revealing deep emotions. From then on, she was often seen kissing the baptismal font and saying: “Here, I became a daughter of God!” With each new day, she became more aware of who this God was, whom she now knew and loved, who had led her to Him through mysterious ways, holding her by the hand.
When Mrs. Michieli returned from Africa to take back her daughter and Bakhita, the latter, with unusual firmness and courage, expressed her desire to remain with the Canossian Sisters and to serve that God who had shown her so many proofs of His love. The young African, who by then had come of age, enjoyed the freedom of choice which the Italian law ensured.
Daughter of St Magdalene
Bakhita remained in the catechumenate where she experienced the call to be a religious, and to give herself to the Lord in the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa. On 8 December 1896, Josephine Bakhita was consecrated forever to God whom she called with the sweet expression “the Master!”
For another 50 years, this humble Daughter of Charity, a true witness of the love of God, lived in the community in Schio, engaged in various services: cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to the door. When she was on duty at the door, she would gently lay her hands on the heads of the children who daily attended the Canossian schools and caress them. Her amiable voice, which had the inflection and rhythm of the music of her country, was pleasing to the little ones, comforting to the poor and suffering and encouraging for those who knocked at the door of the Institute.
Witness of love
Her humility, her simplicity and her constant smile won the hearts of all the citizens. Her sisters in the community esteemed her for her unalterable sweet nature, her exquisite goodness and her deep desire to make the Lord known. “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know God!”
As she grew older she experienced long, painful years of sickness. Mother Bakhita continued to witness to faith, goodness and Christian hope. To those who visited her and asked how she was, she would respond with a smile: “As the Master desires.”
During her agony, she re-lived the terrible days of her slavery and more then once she begged the nurse who assisted her: “Please, loosen the chains… they are heavy!”
It was Mary Most Holy who freed her from all pain. Her last words were: “Our Lady! Our Lady!” and her final smile testified to her encounter with the Mother of the Lord.
Mother Bakhita breathed her last on 8 February 1947 at the Canossian Convent, Schio, surrounded by the Sisters. A crowd quickly gathered at the Convent to have a last look at their «Mother Moretta» and to ask for her protection from heaven. The fame of her sanctity has spread to all the continents and many are those who receive graces through her intercession. (vatican.va)
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