A daughter of gratitude: Weekly Message for 02-06-24

Dear Friends in Christ,

In early February the Church celebrates the feast day of a remarkable modern saint, Josephine Bakhita.

Born in Sudan in 1869 and subjected to brutal treatment as a slave, she eventually found her way to Italy and gentler masters, which were steps on her way into the Church and the Institute of St. Magdalene of Canossa.

So grateful was she for the first sacrament of initiation that she was often seen kissing the baptismal font and saying, “Here, I became a daughter of God!”

Saint Josephine’s recognition of her dignity as a daughter of the Almighty is a strong reminder to the rest of us about our core identity.

We are not at heart either conservative or liberal, trad or progressive, Westerner or Asian or African.

Rather, we are first and foremost sons and daughters of the same loving Father in heaven, and we have a mission to give glory to God by sharing the Gospel and helping one another get to heaven.

All else is smoke and mirrors that will inevitably vanish.

Every age has its trials and tribulations. And God in his providence has a way of raising up saints whose lives give us a helpful roadmap for navigating our own times.

St. Josephine is such a saint. She had lots to complain about, from a worldly perspective. Yet, she didn’t wallow in pity.

Beyond the bounds of an often-difficult life, St. Josephine long sensed the loving presence of a Creator who fashioned the beautiful world around her.

In a word, she was a woman of deep gratitude. And hence, a woman of great peace.

If you want to work on your own peace of soul, consider praying with our Retreat Guide “Troubled Hearts.”

And remember to pray to St. Josephine, who was no stranger to adversity.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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