Monday 8 February is the Feast Day of St Josephine Bakhita – the patron saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
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On this day Catholics are encouraged to pray for all those affected by the crimes of modern slavery and human trafficking, and the people that work to eradicate this crime.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols celebrates Mass in Westminster Cathedral to celebrate the feast of St Josephine Bakhita at 5:30pm on 8 February. Cardinal Nichols is the President of the Santa Marta Group – an alliance of international police chiefs, bishops, religious communities and NGOs working together to eradicate human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
We will upload his homily here.
Covid-19 is a global problem but there is evidence that human traffickers are using the crisis as an opportunity to make money. More here.
During the first lockdown, Cardinal Nichols also emphasised the need to support victims of modern slavery during the pandemic.
In July 2020, he backed a Crimestoppers’ campaign to combat modern slavery.
Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, looked at the bigger picture and encouraged us to “think globally” about health and wellbeing and the inter-connected global factors impacting on our care for each other post-pandemic.
Caritas Bakhita House is a triage centre for the emergency placement of women escaping human trafficking and its function is to support the beginnings of the restorative process. You can find out more by visiting the Bakhita House section on Caritas Westminster’s website.
O God, who led Saint Josephine Bakhita from abject slavery
to the dignity of being your daughter and a bride of Christ,
grant, we pray, that by her example
we may show constant love for the Lord Jesus crucified,
remaining steadfast in charity
and prompt to show compassion.
Through Christ our Lord.
St Josephine Bakhita, also known as ‘Mother Moretta’ (our Black Mother) bore 144 physical scars throughout her life which were received after she was kidnapped at the age of nine and sold into slavery.
Pope Francis calls for the courage of patient construction to build a better society in his message for the International Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking.