Today, Feb. 8, is the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, and it’s no coincidence that it is also the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita: The date was chosen at the request of women religious to highlight her life.
Bakhita was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery. Eventually, she was made the slave-servant for a girl attending a convent school run by the Canossian Sisters in Italy. Bakhita became a Christian and fell in love with the convent, and when the girl’s parents came to collect their daughter and her servant, Bakhita refused to leave. She went to court, supported by the sisters, and won, as slavery was illegal in Italy. She then joined the Canossian Sisters and spent 50 years as a religious, dying in 1947. She was canonized in 2000.