It is a wonderful thing to develop a new friendship with a saint.
A while back I came across a reference to St. Josephine Bakhita and following that I kept running into her again and again in my reading. I have learned over time that when this happens it is something to pay attention to. (It can be likened to the the saint tapping you on your shoulder; trying to get your attention.) Eventually I took the hint and I began searching out information on this patron saint of the Sudan.
This last weekend I watched an Italian movie on her life.
There are many things that strike me about Bakhita’s life but one of the most striking elements is her ability to open hearts. (Because of this ability it is fitting that Bakhita served as the portress – or doorkeeper – of her community’s house for years.)
St. Bakhita endured great cruelty and prejudice during her life and she overcame it all but she also won over the hearts of many of the very people who caused her suffering. She did not do this by clever argument or debate or vitriol but by the witness of love and the willingness to forgive.
This ability to open hearts is greatly needed in our world today. Hearts are closed and fearful.
We need the doorkeeper saints such as St. Bakhita and also Blessed Andre Bessette to teach us how to open hearts through the witness of love and humility.
I pray that we as Church have hearts open to learn what the doorkeeper saints have to teach us.