St Magdalene of Canossa
When the famous Countess Matilda (1045-1115) exercised a strong political influence for nearly half a century. Even though the lineage is not clear, in the 17th century the Canossa’s of Verona held a prominent position in the city life.
During her early childhood Magdalen experienced deep suffering. At the age of five her father died in a geological expedition and her mother remarried and left the Canossa Palace and her children behind when Magdalen was seven years of age. In the absence of parental affection Magdalen turned to Mary for consolation:
“I wept …before Mary, invoking her in tears and calling her by the name of ‘mamma!’… little by little I placed myself in the heart of Mary.”
Magdalen was 15 years old when the French revolution broke out and shook the whole of Europe. In Verona the real consequences were felt about seven years later, when, on June 10, 1796, General Napoleon entered the city as a conqueror.
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St Josephine Bakhita
Bakhita Tells Her Story
A Happy Sudanese Child
I was born in 1869 in a village in Sudan, Africa. I came from a happy family with six children: three boys & three girls. I’ve forgotten a lot about my childhood but I remember just how much Daddy & Mummy loved us & how we cared for each other. While the adults were working in the fields, we children used to play games & have lots of fun.
A Slave Girl in Africa
When I was around seven years old, I went with a friend to pick flowers & herbs in the wood. Suddenly two strangers appeared. They caught hold of me, threatened to kill me & carried me off. I was locked up in a hut far away from home & then sold to some Arab traders.
I managed to escape with another little girl, running through the forest at night. We were terrified by wild animals but I saw a mysterious bright light & a shining figure & the wild animal ran off.
A man we met gave us food and shelter, but he cheated us & sold us to another merchant. After days of traveling with a slave caravan, we arrived at the slave market in the city of El Obeid where we were put on show like animals. I was sold to different masters & mistresses. Among these was a Turkish General whose wife & mother ill-treated their slaves.
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