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St. Josephine Bakhita – God’s mercy in the eyes of a woman

Bakhita’s Vision: From Slavery to Freedom through Infinite Mercy and Love

The plot of this life is as simple as that of every woman who is born free to be happy and encounters, along the way, poverty and evil, limitations that demand that one choose which gaze one wants to place on the world to preserve it to freedom and joy.

Daughter of the land of Africa, Bakhita, the name by which her robbers called her, will also carry with her this woman’s gaze with which she will fill with praise, care and mercy the space of time and places that God’s Providence had given her to traverse. And it was her dark eyes set on a meek and good face where God could get to work, that knew how to read in every created reality and every action performed in it, the place of God’s infinite mercy and His infinite Love.

In the long itinerary of slavery that would take her from Sudan to Italy, Bakhita would always regain, without claiming it, that light of freedom which, by resting on things, people and facts, would restore to them their lost beauty and dignity and redeem evil with the art of benevolence and forgiveness, spaces where God’s mercy could not fail to dwell.

She was still a child in her village when she looked up and saw the sun and stars and wondered Who ever it was who had placed them in the sky and thanked the Lord of creation. And it was with the same gaze that, piercing the cracks of the shack where feverish and delirious from the forty tattoos practiced on her body for the purpose of making her sale more profitable, she thanked Heaven that she could still see the rising of the dawn and the dusk of the evening leaving her tormentors hesitant and confused.

“If one day I returned to Africa,” Bakhita often repeated, “I would seek out my captors to embrace them and thank them. It was through them that I was able to know the God of mercy: Jesus on the cross, contemplated, touched and restored to the world thanks to a woman’s gaze made a womb of mercy, free to choose compassion and forgiveness.

And it was again her astonished eyes in contemplating the Crucifix in the chapel of the Canossian Sisters in Schio that understood how God’s mercy, in Jesus on the cross, embraced and held the whole universe to Himself.

Eyes of a Woman in the heart of God and eyes of God in the heart of a Woman. New proclamation of incarnation. And God’s mercy goes back to work. Always!

Sr Roberta – Canossiana



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