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Saints Jerome Emiliani, Priest and Josephine Bakhita, Virgin
February 8th is the optional memorial of Saint Jerome Emiliani and the Virgin, Saint Josephine Bakhita.
Saint Jerome was an early pioneer of social justice at the turn of 16th century. Born in Venice in 1481, he originally defended the state as a soldier in the army. After being captured in battle and miraculously released, he decided to devote his life to theology and acts of social charity. Saint Jerome prioritized the less fortunate; laboring especially for orphans, the infirmed, and women seeking penance. Throughout Northern Italy, he opened multiple hospitals, schools, and homes for children; being remembered as a man of the people skilled in creating safe havens. 
Saint Josephine Bakhita, born in 1869, honored God amongst Sudanese tyrants and the realities of kidnapping and slavery. Eventually, a kind Italian consul purchased her and brought her safely to Italy where she was to care for a young girl. The parents, forced to travel for work, chose to entrust their child and Saint Josephine, for a short time, to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of Catechumens in Venice. Saint Josephine came of age during their voyage and under Italian law was granted her freedom. She decided to stay in religious life and consecrated herself to God, becoming a Daughter of Charity. For the next 50 years, Saint Josephine’s joyous spirit and mothering nature comforted all who were near. 
Written by Sarah Ciotti
 The Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent ed. New York: The Encyclopedia Press, Inc., 1914.
 The Holy See. Vatican. www.vatican.va
Note: Optional Memorials and Commemorations are optional celebrations and, at present, we do not include content specific to these special days. This “About Today” is provided so that you can celebrate these Saints as you worship Christ.
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