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Saint Josephine Bakhita

Saint Josephine Bakhita

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Gazing at a crucifix for the first time, her eyes were filled with tears. “Who is that?” She asked one of the sisters. “Well that’s Jesus,” the sister replied. Josephine Bakhita was being introduced to the man who had accompanied her through so much anguish and pain. Grateful to her teachers, she recalled, "Those holy mothers introduced me to that God who from childhood I had felt in my heart without knowing who He was." 

While a slave in the Sudan, Bakhita endured a gruesome process called “scarification.” Her masters would incise the patterns of their curtains or household patterns into the skin of the slaves as a mark of their slavery. The patterns were carved all over their chests, breasts, stomachs and ribs. Then, the masters would make the other slaves rub salt in another’s wounds. The salt would make the scar stay forever. It was so painful, it caused the victim to pass out for days. 

I heard of the scarification process right in a threshold of healing in my life. I felt Bakhita whisper, “Even your wounds can be made beautiful.” Bakhita never held anger towards her masters. In fact she said, “If I could meet them again I would kiss their feet, it is because of them that I met my Lord.” Painting this picture I wanted to show the reverence that Bakhita may have had to the wounds on her chest. Through the pain she endured, she understood the love Christ endured being scourged at the pillar and up the road of Calvary. I pictured her grateful for her past because it allowed her to live in the full freedom of Christ. As I was painting, I desired to also give Christ my wounded past with joy. The hurt I have endured has carved a need for Christ in my life. A long and ache for eternity has been incised into my heart.

We are living in a dark time. How is God calling you to live in freedom today? In what ways is He inviting you to help Him make your wounds beautiful?

Bakhita’s last years were marked by pain and sickness. She used a wheelchair but she retained her cheerfulness, and if asked how she was, she would always smile and answer: "As the Master desires." What does the Master desire for you today?


This meditation is printed on the back of the image. 

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