As the Pope passed through the crowd before beginning his weekly catechesis, a religious woman presented him with a picture of St. Josephine Bakhita.
This Sudanese saint lived between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Before traveling to Italy and entering into religious life, she was a slave. Today, the Church celebrates her memory, and Pope Francis did not miss the opportunity to remember a situation that, unfortunately, is still an issue.
"This girl was enslaved in Africa, exploited, humiliated, yet never lost hope. She went forward in her faith and ended up arriving as a migrant in Europe. Let us pray to Saint Josephine Bakhita for all the migrants, refugees, and exploited, who suffer very much.”
Speaking of refugees, the pope recalled another major refugee crisis that the world is facing: Myanmar.
In December, the UN denounced the violence that the Burmese army is carrying out against the Rohingya Muslim minority. It is estimated that between 300,000 and 500,000 refugees have fled to Bangladesh.
They escape in boats, and although they receive food, no countries allow them to enter.
"They are our brothers and sisters, and they have suffered for years. Many are tortured and killed, simply by living their traditions and Muslim faith. Let us pray for them, and I invite you to pray to Our Father in heaven for them.”
One of the missions that Pope Francis has promoted since the beginning of his pontificate is the end of human trafficking. These network are nourished by refugee crises, such as the ones being experienced in Myanmar and Europe.