Saint Augustine Click for pdf
St. Cyprian of Carthage – Bishop and Martyr
Born: circa 200
Cyprian was born to wealthy pagan parents in Carthage, North Africa. He was schooled and skilled as an orator and a lawyer. Cyprian had a convincing dynamic personality and like his parents became quite wealthy. His conversion to Christianity was in his mid forties. After his conversion he sold his property and gave the proceeds to the poor. Only a couple of years after his conversion he was ordained a priest, then just a short time following was selected Bishop of Carthage.
During the persecutions of the Church by the Roman Emperor Decius, Cyprian fled to safety. He continued ministering to his people often by letters. During this time of persecution many Christians caved in and denied their faith. Some even made sacrifices to the pagan gods. A controversy arose among Church leaders what to do with those who later wanted to return to the Christian faith. Some bishops took a position of no return for the apostates while others advocated an immediate return with no penalty whatsoever. Bishop Cyprian backed the moderate position of Pope Cornelius which held that apostates, after a period of penance could return to the Church.
Cyprian wrote masterfully about the importance of Church unity. In his letter entitled The Unity of the Catholic Church he wrote, “You cannot have God for your Father if you do not have the Church for your mother…God is one and Christ is one, and his Church is one.”
In 258 Bishop Cyprian was martyred in Carthage. At his trial the governor said, “You have set yourself up as an enemy of the gods of Rome and our religious practices. It is decided that Cyprian should die by the sword.” To that Cyprian replied, “Thanks be to God!”
SAINT MONICA, Widow
FEAST DAY: August 27th
CANONIZED A SAINT: By Popular Acclaim – Acknowledged by Pope Saint Siricius
PATRONAGE: Married women, abuse victims, alcoholics, victims of adultery, difficult marriages and disappointing children
God of mercy,
comfort of those in sorrow,
the tears of Saint Monica moved you
to convert her son Saint Augustine to the faith of Christ.
By their prayers, help us to turn from our sins
and to find your loving forgiveness.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
OUTLINE OF TEACHING
Born in 332 in Tagaste, North Africa, Saint Monica was given in marriage by her parents to an ill-tempered, unfaithful pagan, who, through her influence and patience, converted to the faith a year before his death. Monica and her husband reared three children, the oldest and most troublesome for the saint, being Saint Augustine. Along with Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan, Monica, through her prayers, fasting and holy example was instrumental in bringing her son to the faith.
Soon, after witnessing the baptism of Augustine and her grandson, Adeodatus, Monica died in Ostia, Italy in 387.
Power of prayer
Saint Monica is an inspiration on many fronts. In her short life on this earth, she played not a small role in the conversion of her unfaithful husband, troublesome mother-in-law and finally, her wayward son, Augustine (see DTS website). She is the model of longsuffering as well as constancy and fidelity to prayer. She was a woman who lived by faith and not by sight. If she did not see things through the eyes of her faith, she certainly would have despaired of any hope of salvation for her family members. What we know of Saint Monica comes to us from her son, Saint Augustine and mostly from his writings of his Confessions. In an age when rarely a family is not touched by the departure of a family member from the faith, Saint Monica calls us to pray fervently for the conversion of those we love the most.
A difficult marriage
Although Patricius had his good qualities, he was also ill-tempered and unfaithful, as he was a pagan and refused to have anything to do with his wife’s piety. Patricius, who was on the one hand critical of Monica’s generosity to the poor, never laid an abusive hand upon her, which was not the norm of fourth century North Africa. Monica endured Patricius’ fits of rage with patience and a strong character; virtues that would see her through many difficult days ahead. Monica certainly had her short comings. One time she was accused by a servant girl that she was a drunk. From that moment on, Monica never drank wine again. Three children were born to Monica and Patricius; two sons; Augustine and Navigius and a daughter; Perpetua. Nothing is known of Navigius and Perpetua with the exception of the fact that Navigius was with Monica at her death and that he had become a Christian at some point in his life. If living with a short-fused pagan was not enough of a cross, Patricius’ cantankerous mother also added to the mix of difficulty as she spent the remainder of her life making Monica’s as unpleasant as possible. Thankfully, Patricius and his mother both became Christians prior to their deaths. Monica was only forty years of age when Patricius died. She was at peace by the fact that Patricius had been converted and received baptism a year before his death. Even with the consolation of knowing that her husband and mother-in-law died in God’s graces, she had another reason to pour her heart out to God in prayer.
Monica’s long suffering
Monica bore her cross of suffering with a particular patience. The heaviest of all crosses was the one she bore over her son, Augustine, who got involved with a heretical sect, known as the Manicheans. Augustine, although an excellent student struggled early on due to the abuse he suffered at school, in his early years. Augustine also struggled with idleness as well as a lack of direction. He was influenced by his father’s paganism and lack of morals. The last straw, if you will came for Monica when Augustine took a mistress and then fathered a son by her.
Augustine flees to Italy
In order to further his studies and eventually take a teaching position, Augustine, with his mistress and son left for Rome. Monica was determined to join her son in this endeavor, but Augustine would have none of it. Augustine became entangled in a lie to his mother about the time of his departure to Rome. Thinking that they were departing in the morning, Monica spent the night in prayer in the church of Saint Cyprian, only to discover that Augustine and company had departed earlier without her. Monica secured passage on another ship at a much later date and not finding her son in Rome eventually caught up with him, his mistress and son, in Milan.
The influence of Saint Ambrose
Through a course of events (see the life of Saint Augustine on the DTS website), Augustine came under the tutelage of the bishop of Milan, Ambrose (featured on DTS website). Through Ambrose’s influence and Monica’s prayers, Augustine and his son Adeodatus were baptized and brought into the Catholic Church. It was, without question the happiest moment for Monica and the answer to over thirty years of prayer, fasting and sacrificing for the conversion and salvation of her wayward son. They, along with some of Augustine’s friends lived as a Christian community for a short period of time before setting off for North Africa, once again.
Monica’s last days
While waiting to set sail from Ostia, a port city outside of Rome, back to North Africa, Monica became seriously ill. Monica knew for sometime that she was not well, though no one else suspected anything. During her last few days, she and Augustine shared with each other their deepest desires. For Augustine, he was devoting the remainder of his life to celibacy. For Monica, she told her son the following; “son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled. All that I wished for was that I might see you a Catholic and a child of Heaven. God has granted me more than this in making you despise earthly felicity and consecrate yourself to His service.” In the past, Monica had expressed her desire to be buried next to her husband, Patricius. Augustine was concerned, as this was not now likely to happen. He asked his mother if she was afraid to die and be buried in a place so far from home. Monica’s response; “Nothing is far from God, neither am I afraid that God will not find my body to raise it with the rest.” Within a few days after she suffered greatly, Monica died in year 387 at the age of fifty-five.
Initially, Augustine refused to shed any tears, believing that such expressions of grief at his mother’s funeral was out of place for one who died such a holy death, in the peace of Christ. Yet, Augustine relays in his writings through the Confessions that when he was alone, he shed many tears of grief, thinking of the love and countless tears shed by his dear mother for him. In the Confessions, Augustine asks the readers of his work to pray for his mother and father. Monica stands out as the greatest of all witnesses to the virtue of constancy in prayer, fasting and offering sacrifices for the conversion and salvation of her family members.
A reading from the Confessions of Saint Augustine, bishop and doctor
The days was now approaching when my mother, Monica would depart from this life; you knew that day, Lord, though we did not. She and I happened to be standing by ourselves at a window that overlooked the garden in the courtyard of the house. At the time we were in Ostia on the Tiber. And so the two of us, all alone, were enjoying a very pleasant conversation, “forgetting the past and pushing on to what is ahead.” We were asking one another in the presence of the Truth – for you are the Truth – what it would be like to share the eternal life enjoyed by the saints, which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, which has not even entered into the heart of man.” We desired with all our hearts to drink from the streams of your heavenly fountain, the fountain of life.
That was the substance of our talk, though not the exact words. But you know, O Lord, that in the course of our conversation that day, the world and its pleasures lost all their attraction for us. Shortly, within five days or thereabouts, she fell sick with a fever. Then one day during the course of her illness she became unconscious and for a while she was unaware of her surroundings. My brother and I rushed to her side but she regained consciousness quickly. She looked at us as we stood there and asked in a puzzled voice: “Where was I?” “One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” Once our mother had expressed this desire as best she could, she fell silent as the pain of her illness increased.
Points to Ponder
- Monica’s constancy in prayer and fasting for the conversion of her family members.
- Monica bore her many crosses with patience and trust.
- Saint Monica shows us that the salvation of our family members should be of the greatest importance to us.
- Saint Monica reminds us to pray for the dead (from the above Reading of Saint Augustine) “One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord, wherever you may be.”
SAINT MOSES THE BLACK, Priest and Martyr
FEAST DAY: August 28th
CANONIZED A SAINT: In 409 by Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria
PATRONAGE: Those who struggle with lust and are in need of conversion
OUTLINE OF TEACHING
Saint Moses, originally from Ethiopia was a slave of an Egyptian official. He was dismissed due to his immoral lifestyle, including thievery. On the run from the law, Moses happens upon a group of monks who take him in. Through a course of events, now lost in time, Moses is converted and becomes a monk. Eventually ordained to the priesthood by the patriarch who would, one day canonize him a saint, Moses would suffer martyrdom in the year 405. The life of Saint Moses is a study in the beauty of repentance and conversion as well as the power of God breaking through any level of sin.
you kept Saint Moses faithful to Christ’s pattern of poverty and humility.
May his prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling and bring us to the perfection you have shown us in your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The white martyr
By the fourth century, persecutions in the church, for the most part, began to die down considerably, with exceptions, here and there. To some extent, there was an element of the church which grew a little soft and lazy. Thus, a new Christian hero emerged in the men and women who abandoned the world in the same spirit of the Jewish monks, known as the Essenes, long before the time of Jesus. These new Christian heroes, the desert fathers and mothers, many of whom were found in the in Egypt rose up voluntarily to do battle. Saints, such as Anthony of Egypt, Athanasius, Pachomius, Basil, Mary (DTS website) and Thais (DTS website) are just a few of the many who became known as “white martyrs.” The “white martyr” chooses to die to the world, voluntarily, but never dies for the faith. Often, there is not always very much information available about their lives. Yet, what is available can be a powerful lesson of our own need for repentance and conversion. Saint Moses the Black, an Ethiopian and one of the rare examples of a “white” and “red” martyr has a great deal to teach us in terms of our own need for conversion. There is precious little information about his life, but what exists is powerful for us today.
A slave in many ways
No information exists as to when Moses was born and how he was raised. Honestly, we don’t even know if Moses is his real or monastic name. Chances are it is his monastic name. What we do know is that Moses was either a servant or a slave of an Egyptian official. Moses led an immoral, violent life, including theft, lust and possibly, murder. He was lucky to be only dismissed and not put to death for his thievery. Moses was said to be a very large man who exhibited extraordinary physical strength. After his dismissal from the house of the Egyptian official, Moses gathered some thugs around him and formed a gang, which engaged in acts of violence and intimidation. On once occasion, a premeditated act of thievery was thwarted by the barking of a sheep dog. Moses swore to kill the shepherd who owned the dog. He swam across the Nile with a knife between his teeth in pursuit of the shepherd who owned the dog. Luckily for the shepherd, he was able to get away from Moses. Not being able to find the shepherd, he killed four rams, tied them up, towed them back across the Nile, slaughtered them and ate the choicest portions and sold the skins in order to buy a skin of wine.
Unfortunately, there is nothing recorded, recounting the conversion of Moses. It is speculated that he hid himself among desert monks, while possibly being a sought after person by the law. However his conversion took place, it was obvious that he was sincere in his desire to change.
At some point along the journey of conversion, Moses became a monk at the desert monastery of Petra (Peter) Skete. It must be understood that a desert monastery often times consisted of a series of caves in a general location. While in his cave, Moses was attacked by four would be robbers. What he had that could be robbed would certainly be held up for question, thus it is safe to say these robbers were either very desperate or very stupid. At any rate, Moses was able to manhandle the fearsome foursome, bounding them up, not wanting to hurt them; further evidence of his conversion. He brought the bound attackers to the abbot stating; “I am not allowed to hurt anybody, so what do you want me to do with these?” There is a legend that the would be robbers were so taken by the example of Moses that they themselves became monks.
Struggles with passions
As the saying goes, “you can the boy out of…, but you can’t necessarily take the… out of the boy.” This was certainly the case for Moses as he continually struggled with the passions of lust. As a good monk would be expected to do, Moses sought the advice and fatherly guidance of the abbot, Abba Isidore (who became a saint in his own rite). The abbot took Moses to the top of the Skete at dawn; “See, the light only gradually drives away the darkness. So it is with the soul.” Moses was eventually able to overcome such temptations through manual labor, severe mortification, service of his brothers at the Skete and a deep prayer life.
Ordained to the priesthood
Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria, Egypt heard of Moses and the many strides that he had made in the virtuous life and decided to ordain him to the priesthood, much to the protests of Moses, who did not feel himself worthy such a high calling. After the liturgy, the archbishop addressed Moses, newly anointed and wearing the white vestments of his ordination; “Now, Father Moses, the black man is made white.” It is recorded that Moses responded; “Only outside! God knows that inwardly I am yet dark.”
From white martyrdom to red martyrdom
Moses and the monks under his charge came under attack by a band of Berbers. Moses refused to allow his monks to defend themselves, ordering them instead to run away. As he gave the order for their departure, Moses reminded the monks; “all that take up the sword shall perish with the sword.” Moses, along with seven other monks, stayed behind and was martyred in the year 405. It was believed that Moses was around the age of seventy-five when he was martyred. He was buried in the cemetery at the Dair al-Baramus monastery in Egypt.
A Reading from the Ladder of Divine Ascent by Saint John Climacus, abbot
Do not be surprised that you fall everyday; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honor your patience. While a wound is still fresh and warm, it is easy to heal; but old, neglected and festering ones are hard to cure, and require for their care much treatment, cutting, plastering and cauterization. Many from long neglect become incurable, but with God all things are possible.
We must carefully consider whether our conscience has ceased to accuse us, not as a result of purity, but because it is immersed in evil. A sign of deliverance from our falls is the continual reckoning of ourselves as debtors.
Additional quotes for reflection
“A horse when alone often imagines that it is galloping, but when it is with others it finds out how slow it is.” (Saint John Climacus)
“I have seen men who were going to steal and were not afraid of God, but hearing the barking of dogs, they at once turned back.” (Saint John Climacus)
Points to Ponder
- How God’s grace can bring about the most amazing conversions and transformations.
- We will never be totally free of temptation and spiritual struggle.
- Like Saint Moses, we must always be mindful of our inclinations to sinfulness and need for humility.
THE CHRISTIAN MARTYRS OF UGANDA
The Uganda Martyrs were canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964
Feast Day: June 3rd the day of their death
On June 3rd, 1886, more than 24 young men, pages of the court of King Mwanga of Buganda (present day Uganda) were burned to death at Namugongo for their refusal to renounce Christianity.
The events leading up to the death of these young men began some twenty years earlier when the Society of the “White Fathers” was founded. The White Fathers, named for the color of their habit, not for the color of their skin, was founded in 1868 by the first Archbishop of Algiers who later became a Cardinal, to educate a large number of Arab children who had been left orphan by the Famine of 1867. From the beginning, however, the Founder, Cardinal Lavigerie, had wanted to work with Arabs and the peoples of Central Africa.
The path to evangelization of Africa was difficult and dangerous. Many missionaries, both Catholic and Anglican were martyred before they ever reached their destination. The arrival of the missionaries who reached central Africa set the stage for dramatic changes in Uganda’s religious and political life.
The history of Buganda (Uganda) from this point on took a different turn. Mutesa I allowed his people to join any creed they wanted to while he remained uncommitted because he did not want to be circumcised as the Moslems wished or give up polygamy as the Christians wished. But the early death of King Mutesa I in 1884, just a few years after the arrival of the missionaries, left the kingdom in the hands of Mwanga II, his son.
The young King Mwanga lacked the maturity and wisdom to deal successfully with foreigners and because of this lack of experience; he became the last king of independent Buganda. Although Mwanga had shown some love for the missionaries as a young prince, his attitude changed when he became king. He turned into an intolerant and vicious persecutor of Christians and foreigners. He felt, with good cause, that the powers and authority that his ancestors enjoyed were dwindling. The converts had given their loyalty to Someone else and their allegiance was no longer assured.
The Christian religion was received with much excitement by the converts, but it came with its own requirements. It denounced all the native religious behavior and practices as heathen and satanic. By committing oneself to Christianity it meant breaking away from the old life style and adopting new moral and religious standards.
For King Mwanga, the ultimate humiliation was the insolence he received from the Pages who resisted his homosexual advances. According to tradition the king was the center of power and authority, and he could dispense with any life as he saw fit.
Homosexuality was unheard of among the Buganda people. It was also unheard of for mere Pages to reject the wishes of the king. He was personally shamed by the lowest of his subjects who would no longer share his bed. Thus began the deadly campaign against foreigners and converted African Christians.
It was hardly a year after Mwanga became King before he ordered the execution of Joseph Rugarama, Mark Kakumba and Noah Serwanga, who would become the first three Christian martyrs, who were killed on January 31, 1885. Not only these three, but all the Uganda Martyrs were either burned, dismembered or beheaded. In October of the same year, King Mwanga ordered the death of the Anglican Bishop, James Hannington, who was journeying to Buganda.
When Joseph Mkasa, the 25 year old leader of a small Christian community of 200 and the Chief Steward at the court of King Mwanga, heard about the death of the Protestant missionary Bishop Hannington he confronted Mwanga and condemned his action. King Mwanga had always liked Joseph, but when Joseph dared to demand that Mwanga change his lifestyle King Mwanga forgot about their long friendship. After striking Joseph with a spear, he ordered him killed. When the executioners tried to tie his hands, he told them, ”A Christian who gives his life for God is not afraid to die." Joseph forgave Mwanga with all his heart before he was beheaded and then burned on November 15, 1885.
Charles Lwanga took over the instruction and leadership of the Christian community at court and the job of keeping the boys and young men out of Mwanga’s hands. For about six months the persecution died down a little.
Then in May 1886, Mwanga called one of his pages named Mwafu and asked why he hadn’t seen him for awhile. Mwafu told King Mwanga that he had been receiving religious instructions from Denis Sebuggwawo. Mwanga became so angry that he had Denis brought to him and he killed him himself by thrusting a spear through his throat.
He ordered the compound sealed so no one could escape and called the country’s executioners. Charles Lwanga baptized four catechumens for he knew what was about to happen. King Mwanga brought his court before him and demanded that the Christians stand to one side. Then they were condemned to death. King Mwanga commanded that the group be taken on a 37 mile march to the place of execution at Namugongo.
Among the cruelly bound prisoners was the chief executioner’s son, Mabaga, He begged his son to escape and hide, but his son would not do it. Also condemned was Andrew Kagwa, a Kigowa Chief who had converted his wife and several others and Matthias Murumba an assistant judge. Matthias was cut up on the road and left to die. It took at least three days.
When the original caravan of prisoners reached Namugongo they were kept imprisoned for seven days. On June 3rd, they were brought out, wrapped in reed mats and placed on the pyre. Mabaga, the chief executioner’s son, was killed first after his father’s last futile attempt to save him. The rest were burned to death. Thirteen Catholics and eleven Protestants died calling on the name of Jesus and proclaiming, “You can burn our bodies, but you can not harm our souls.”
When the White Fathers were expelled from the country, the new Christians carried on their work, translating and printing the catechism into their native languages and giving secret instruction in the faith. Intelligence, courage and wisdom kept the Faith in Uganda alive since they were without any priests to offer the liturgy and administer the sacraments. When the White Fathers returned after King Mwanga’s death they found five hundred Christians and a thousand catechumens waiting for them.
Martyrs of Uganda pray for the faith where it is in danger and for Christians who are or will be called to suffer for their faith.
Help us always to have the courage to die for Christ if it is asked of us.
Help us to be humble enough to pray for that courage daily
St. Josephine Bakhita
Saint Josephine Margaret Bakhita was born around 1869 in the village of Olgossa in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was a member of the Daju people and her uncle was a tribal chief. Due to her family lineage, she grew up happy and relatively prosperous, saying that as a child, she did not know suffering.
Historians believe that sometime in February 1877, Josephine was kidnapped by Arab slave traders. Although she was just a child, she was forced to walk barefoot over 600 miles to a slave market in El Obeid. She was bought and sold at least twice during the grueling journey.
For the next 12 years she would be bought, sold and given away over a dozen times. She spent so much time in captivity that she forgot her original name.
As a slave, her experiences varied from fair treatment to cruel. Her first owner, a wealthy Arab, gave her to his daughters as a maid. The assignment was easy until she offended her owner's son, possibly for the crime of breaking a vase. As punishment, she was beaten so severely she was incapacitated for a month. After that, she was sold.
One of her owners was a Turkish general who gave her to his wife and mother-in-law who both beat her daily. Josephine wrote that as soon as one wound would heal, they would inflict another.
She told about how the general's wife ordered her to be scarred. As her mistress watched, ready with a whip, another woman drew patterns on her skin with flour, then cut into her flesh with a blade. She rubbed the wounds with salt to make the scars permanent. She would suffer a totalof 114 scars from this abuse.
In 1883, the Turkish general sold her to the Italian Vice Consul, Callisto Legani. He was a much kinder master and he did not beat her. When it was time for him to return to Italy, she begged to be taken with him, and he agreed.
After a long and dangerous journey across Sudan, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean, they arrived in Italy. She was given away to another family as a gift and she served them as a nanny.
Her new family also had dealings in Sudan had when her mistress decided to travel to Sudan without Josephine, she placed her in the custody of the Canossian Sisters in Venice.
While she was in the custody of the sisters, she came to learn about God. According to Josephine, she had always known about God, who created all things, but she did not know who He was. The sisters answered her questions. She was deeply moved by her time with the sisters and discerned a call to follow Christ.
When her mistress returned from Sudan, Josephine refused to leave. Her mistress spent three days trying to persuade her to leave the sisters, but Josephine remained steadfast. This caused the superior of the institute for baptismal candidates among the sisters to complain to Italian authorities on Josephine's behalf.
The case went to court, and the court found that slavery had been outlawed in Sudan before Josephine was born, so she could not be lawfully made slave. She was declared free.
For the first time in her life, Josephine was free and could choose what to do with her life. She chose to remain with the Canossian Sisters.
She was baptized on January 9, 1890 and took the name Josephine Margaret and Fortunata. (Fortunata is the Latin translation for her Arabic name, Bakhita). She also received the sacraments of her first holy communion and confirmation on the same day. These three sacraments are the sacraments of initiation into the Church and were always given together in the early Church. The Archbishop who gave her the sacraments was none other than Giusseppe Sarto, the Cardinal Patriarch of Venice, who would later become Pope Pius X.
Josephine became a novice with the CanossianDaughters of Charity religious order on December 7, 1893, and took her final vows on December 8, 1896. She was eventually assigned to a convent in Schio, Vicenza.
For the next 42 years of her life, she worked as a cook and a doorkeeper at the convent. She also traveled and visited other convents telling her story to other sisters and preparing them for work in Africa.
She was known for her gentle voice and smile. She was gentle and charismatic, and was often referred to lovingly as the "little brown sister" or honorably as the "black mother."
When speaking of her enslavement, she often professed she would thank her kidnappers. For had she not been kidnapped, she might never have come to know Jesus Christ and entered His Church.
During World War II, the people of the village of Schio regarded her as their protector. And although bombs fell on their village, not one citizen died.
In her later years, she began to suffer physical pain and was forced to use a wheelchair. But she always remained cheerful. If anyone asked her how she was, she would reply, "As the master desires."
On the evening of February 8, 1947, Josephine spoke her last words, "Our Lady, Our Lady!" She then died. Her body lay on display for three days afterwards.
In 1958, the process of canonization began for Josephine under Pope John XXIII. On December 1st, 1978, Pope John Paul II declared her venerable. Sadly, the news of her beatification in 1992 was censored in Sudan. But just nine months later, Pope John Paul II visited Sudan and honored her publicly. He canonized her on October 1, 2000.
Saint Josephine Bakhita is the patron saint of Sudan and her feast day is celebrated on February 8.
Josephine Bakhita (c. 1869 - 8 February 1947) was a Sudanese-born former slave who became a Roman Catholic Canossian nun in Italy, living and working there for 45 years. In 2000, she was declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.