I was working for the Vatican Information Service in the Holy See Press Office in May 1992, and well remember Sunday May 17, when Josephine Bakhita and Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, were beatified by St. John Paul.  She was canonized October 1 during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. She is the patron saint of Sudan and her feast day is today, February 8.


I was entranced by the story of now Saint Josephine Bakhita and was entrusted to write the story of the beatification, and a biography of Josephine before the big day. I have spent some time just now searching for that VIS story but it appears that all articles done over a 20-year period by VIS in several languages are nowhere to be found on the Vatican website. I went to, clicked on English but when I hit the search icon, nothing appeared.

I have been under the weather for 4 days now with a bad cold and am just hoping it is my inabibility to feel 100% that has inhibited my search. I’ll contact some former Vatican colleagues to get an updateon VIS files.

For now, you’ll have to settle for what the Pope says about St. Josephine in the story below.

Pope Francis tweeted today: Those who traffic human beings are ultimately accountable to God. Let us pray for the conversion of hearts. @M_RSection


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed to government leaders to be strong in the fight against the scourge of human trafficking.

Marking Wednesday’s ‘International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking’, the Pope had words of encouragement for all those who in different ways, help minors who have been enslaved and abused to be freed from this terrible oppression. This day takes place annually on February 8, and focused this year on the trafficking of children and adolescents.

“I urge all those in government positions to combat this scourge with firmness, giving voice to our younger brothers and sisters who have been wounded in their dignity. All efforts must be made to eradicate this shameful and intolerable crime” he said.

He explained that the ‘International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking” falls on the feast day Saint Josephine Bakhita, “this enslaved, exploited and humiliated girl in Africa never lost hope,” he said, “but persevered in her faith and ended up as a migrant in Europe where she heard the call of the Lord and became a nun. Let’s pray to Saint Josephine Bakhita for all migrants and refugees who are exploited and suffer so much.”