Day of Prayer, Action and Reflection Against Human Trafficking

How Will You Mark this DayBakhita Poster?

Pope Francis has declared the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, 8th February, to be the International Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking. Josephine Josephine Bakhita was born in 1869, in a small village in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was kidnapped while working in the fields with her family and subsequently sold into slavery.  In her later life after she had been freed she was known to have said  “If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today.” Her story reminds us of the trauma and loss of dignity endured but ever trafficked person. As we mark her feastday let us pray that we will be able to work against this crime against the dignity of the person. For resources to help you mark this day click here.

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  1. LETS – Letefoho East Timor Support group of volunteers from the Catholic Parish of Lower North Shore work to raise funds for our remote twinned Parish of Letefoho, Timor Leste. Within the Parish of Letefoho is the St Bakhita Centre – a youth development and training centre that also has a small medical centre, in the village of Eraulo. This is where I spend several weeks each year living with my East Timorese friends. The St Bakhita Centre was established by Eddie de Pina, who had been a 10 year old refugee to Australia in 1975, from the Indonesian-invaded Timor Leste. He returned to Timor Leste in 1999 with just a backpack. He has now created a vital centre from which much needed donated goods are distributed to some of the most remote areas of Timor Leste in the Ermera region. He is responsible for Australian donors helping with clean water projects, renovations to schools and the building of a new chapel for the district.
    Eddie’s father was African and his mother is East Timorese. Before establising the St Bakhita Centre he had several dreams of a black lady talking to him. This greatly troubled him until a friend showed him a picture of St Bakhita and he immediately recognised her as the lady from his dreams. He and all the people of the Letefoho region have a great devotion to St Josephina Bakhita. The people of Timor Leste have the greatest faith I have ever experienced. They are an absolute joy to be with.
    LETS is organising, as part of our support for the region, immersion tours with Harvest Inroads. The next tour is 16th-23rd May 2016.

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