Sudanese Choir @ St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia 07.02.10

I made this recording recently at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia. The day was celebrating Saint Joesphine Bakhita. I am hoping the choir will be involved with the upcoming Compilation, however at this stage it is uncertain.

Below is a biography of Saint Bakhita that was included in the afternoon’s proceedings.

St Joesphine Bakhita

Born is 1869, she spent the first 7 years of her life in Al-Qoz, Darfur. One day, she strayed outside the village and was kidnapped by slave traders. So traumatised, she forgot her own name so they called her ‘Bakhita’ – Arabic for ‘The Fortunate One’.

As a slave she was sold from one master to another and she suffered terrible degradations at their hands. However she demonstrated ‘an inborn goodness and gentility’ that protected her virtue. She was eventually sold to an Italian Consol who took her to Italy and gave her to the Michieli family, where she nursed their young daughter for 3 years. While Michieli was setting up a business in Sudan, his wife, Mara Turina, returned to Italy to clean up affairs. This took longer than expected and, during a temporary visit to Sudan, Maria left her daughter and Bakhita in the care of the Conossian Sisters. It was during this time that Bakhita developed the desire to become a Catholic. When it came time to return to Sudan Bakhita flatly refused, wanting to stay and finish her catechesis. As the same time her legal status was before the courts and it was eventually determined that because slavery did not exist in Italy. Bakhita could not be forced to return to Sudan with the Michieli family.

Free to choose, Bakhita stayed in Italy. On January 9, 1890, she was baptised ‘Giuseppina Magherita Fortunata’, immediately confirmed and received First Communion. Six years later, she took final vows into the Conossian order.

She died in 1947.

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