VATICAN - Bishop Macram Max Gassis: Bakhita, an amazing sign for Africa
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Bishop Macram Max Gassis, Catholic Bishop of El Obeid in Sudan, speaking to Fides on the occasion of the canonisation of Josephine Bakhita (1 October 2000), said: “Bakhita is a symbol of the fact that women are the hub of society, despite their tribulations and difficulties. The figure of Bakhita is that of a woman who is able to bear humiliation and violence with humility, dignity and love. She shows that no suffering can humiliate a woman as much as to deprive her of God's love, indeed precisely God's love redeems women from all suffering. Bakhita, freed from physical slavery chooses to become a slave of the love of God which liberates. Bakhita is Africa's first non martyr saint. This means holiness is not reserved only for the African man, the predominant figure in the east. Women too can be an example to follow. A woman who is a faithful follower of Jesus can be a saint: this is of amazing value for Africa ”.
With regard Bakhita's message for the world today Bishop Gassis said it consists of “hope to be freed from many forms of slavery. There exists physical slavery from which the saint was freed. This same slavery is experienced by many Sudanese women and children. But Bakhita will intercede that we may be freed from other forms of slavery. Another hope comes from Bakhita: hope for those who leave their homeland. She came to live in the region of Venice, where today there are many immigrants to whom you refer as extra-European-community people. Bakhita was fortunate. Here she found freedom, faith and love. She is a figure who encourages immigrants in the West never to lose hope. So many immigrants have suffered and continue to suffer. For them Bakhita is an example of hope, because the Cross is followed by the Resurrection ”. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 30/11/2007; righe 20, parole 307)
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