Loosen the chains… they are so heavy – Saint Josephine Bakhita.
The Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita on the 8th of February each year.
Her life was a journey from slavery to freedom and faith. The patron saint of Sudan, her life story inspires hope in the face of modern day indifference and exploitation. As Pope Francis states:
She is charged with showing to all the path to conversion, which enables us to change the way we see our neighbours, to recognize in every other person a brother or sister in our human family, and to acknowledge his or her intrinsic dignity in truth and freedom. This can be clearly seen from the story of Josephine Bakhita, the saint originally from the Darfur region in Sudan who was kidnapped by slave-traffickers and sold to brutal masters when she was nine years old. Subsequently – as a result of painful experiences – she became a “free daughter of God” thanks to her faith, lived in religious consecration and in service to others, especially the most lowly and helpless. This saint, who lived at the turn of the twentieth century, is even today an exemplary witness of hope for the many victims of slavery; she can support the efforts of all those committed to fighting against this “open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ”.
O God, our words cannot express what our minds can barely comprehend and our hearts feel when we hear of children and adults deceived and transported to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor because of human greed.
Our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are being transgressed through threats, deception, and force.
We cry out against the degrading practice of trafficking and pray for it to end.
Strengthen the fragile-spirited and broken-hearted.
Make real your promises to fill these our sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good, and send the exploiters away empty handed.
Give us the wisdom and courage to stand in solidarity with them, that together we will find ways to the freedom that is your gift to all of us.
(Gen Cassani, SSND)
We wish all the Year 12’s the best for their three days of reflection, fun and learning this week. On Wednesday Fr Rob Galea will tell his story and lead Eucharist, on Thursday students will have time with their House, including reading the family letters, and on Friday we will hear from world experts. 2012 Young Australian of the Year, Marita Cheng, will appear by robot from San Francisco, and Australian author, Margaret Hepworth will present her wellbeing expertise.
On Thursday night parents are welcome to join the students in a meal at the Beaconsfield Hall between 5pm and 7pm. We hope that these days will enable students to start the year well, especially with the knowledge that our God meets all of us where we are, as we see in Jesus words to his followers in John 10:10, I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.