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Born in Sudan, Bakhita is kidnapped as a young girl by slave dealers, then sold and resold as a slave to different masters. She is rescued by Federico Martin, a widower from Italy who sees her plight and pities her. He brings her back to Italy to look after his young daughter, Alina, in the small town of Veneto. Amidst the prejudice and antagonism of the people there, Bakhita remains kind and generous in her service. Through Father Antonio, the local priest, and the support of the Daughters of Charity, Bakhita grows in her faith in God and gets baptized. She decides to join the kind Sisters in the religious life. However Martin wants Bakhita to return to him and Alina is afraid of losing her companion. Eventually though, Martin realises that he cannot treat her as a slave, the fate from which he had originally rescued her in the past. Bahkita is freed to follow her chosen path. Bakhita died in 1947 and was canonised on 1 Oct, 2000 by Pope John Paul II. Saint Bakhita has become a symbol of freedom and reconciliation, and is today the patron saint of Africa.
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