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This image is from the EWTN movie, Bakhita: The Slave who Became a Saint.Do you have a hard time forgiving? Then you will not want to miss the two-part blockbuster, BAKHITA, on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Part One airs at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 30, and Part Two airs at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 6.

She was born into poverty, kidnapped by slavers, beaten, abused, betrayed, and treated as property. This was the life of Josephine Bakhita. However, she did not react as you would expect. With God’s grace, Bakhita responded to her persecutors with love and forgiveness. Her heroic virtue in the face of horrific conditions earned her the admiration of the late Pope John Paul II who canonized her.

Bakhita was rescued from her horrible life of slavery and brought to Italy by a Venetian merchant. There, she became the nanny servant of the merchant’s daughter who had lost her mother at birth. Unfortunately, her dark skin makes her an outcast among fellow servants and the people of the town.

Life, while better, was still quite difficult. However, when a smallpox epidemic hits the village, it is Bakhita who helps the local Catholic priest care for the villagers, who had treated her so abominably, in the local church turned hospital. It is from this priest, and under the shadow of the Crucifix, that Bakhita learns about Jesus for the first time.

When the epidemic is over, Bakhita becomes a Catholic and asks the Italian merchant for permission to join the order of Canossian Sisters. But this does not please either the merchant or his daughter who conspire to keep Bakhita, going so far as to bring her into a court of law and to lie about this holy woman. Bakhita’s Christian response is an inspiration for us to reexamine our own pettiness when asked to forgive much lesser insults.

The film, with subtitles, is directed by Giacamo Campiotti (St. Giuseppe Moscati and Doctor Zhivago), and stars Fatou Kine Boye, Stefania Rocca, Fabio Sartor, Ettore Bassi, and Francesco Salvi.

The heroic love Bakhita displays obviously takes Divine help. Watch the film to see love in action and to learn why this former slave is now a saint -- and how you might become one, too. As Mother Angelica always said, “We are all called to be great saints. Don’t miss the opportunity!”

[Written by Michelle Laque Johnson of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).]

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