Friday 5 November 2021

Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free - Susan Helen Wallace and Wayne Alfano - Encounter the Saints Series Book 21

Saint Bakhita of Sudan: 
Forever Free
Encounter the Saints Series Book 21
Susan Helen Wallace FSP,
Wayne Alfano (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819870940
eISBN 9780819872548

As a family we have read over 30 books in this series so far. I started reading this series myself, focusing on saints I knew and had devotion to. Then I started reading them with my three youngest children. My children and I love this series. We have read many of the books more than once. 

This is an excellent series is! Between my three children and I we have now read nearly all of the books in this series. I read them either by myself, or with one or more child. My youngest 2 children ages 13, 10, still both love these books. And they have read or reread them to us. My son wants to have the complete set in his room, so he keeps asking to buy his own set, because he loves these books so much. We have picked up several volumes to donate to the school library. I would love to have the whole set in the school library as a resource when the students are picking confirmation saints. Each time we read a book in the series we appreciate this series more. We hope there will be more books released in the series in the future. I would love to see how this series handles Saint Josemaria Escriva, Blessed Carlo Actus, … and many more. We would also like to eventually see eBooks of all of the volumes in the series. With my dyslexia and my son’s eye tracking issues we both prefer eBooks where we can change page color, font size and font spacing. This book has an eBook listed but I cannot find it, as it is listed at currently unavailable.

Now back to this specific book on Saint Bakhita of Sudan. 

The description of this volume is:

“The name “Bakhita,” which means “fortunate,” was sarcastically bestowed upon this young child when she was kidnapped into slavery. After being taken to Italy and put into service as a nanny, she was sent to live with the Canossian Sisters in Venice, eventually becoming part of their community. For twenty-five years, she joyously carried out humble services in the convent, including taking care of the wounded during World War I. This African saint's engrossing life story, heroic choices, and forgiving heart make her a wonderful role model!”

The chapters in this volume are:

1. Kidnapped
2. A Brief Escape
3. Bakhita’s Mistake
4. Bought and Sold Again
5. Be Peaceful and Happy!
6. The Long Journey
7. A New Home
8. Links in a Chain
9. The Great Day
10. A Special Attraction
11. The Lord’s Own
12. All for Jesus
13. Sowing Peace
14. A Wonderful Story
15. War...Again!
16. Shadows of Eternal Joy 

The prayer in this volume is:

“Saint Bakhita, you’re so easy to love and so hard to forget. You have many lessons to teach each one of us. Suffering and sadness stalked your young life. You know what it’s like to thirst for goodness and truth, especially Eternal Truth. You teach us how to hope, how to trust, and how to keep on going without ever giving up.

It’s so easy to believe that others are better off than we are, have more than we have, and find life easier and more fun than we do. Few people have suffered more than you, Saint Bakhita. Few people have had a more difficult life than yours. But you found your freedom and peace in the crucified Jesus, and he taught you the value of all human pain. Jesus gave you gifts of wisdom, compassion, and a great heart capable of loving and forgiving everyone—even those who treated you cruelly and enslaved you.

You never gave in to hate or thoughts of revenge. No matter the weight of your troubles, you clung to Jesus and he took care of you. Teach me, teach us all how to be like you, Saint Bakhita.


The prayer in this volume is the very different to the one as in the companion volume, The Saints Pray for Us, which has prays for the first 30 saints and blessed covered in the series. This book is a wonderful read. Learning about Saint Bakhita of Sudan it is not an easy read. And this saint went through more in life than many of us will ever experience. It is great to read this with children and be able to explain some of the history and context. 

This is one of eight volumes in the series written by Susan Helen Wallace FSP, and one of three illustrated by Wayne Alfano. Each volume in this series had 5 illustrations. The ones in this volume are pencil sketches. They have a lot of detail. My children love going over the pictures and picking out all the details. A few of the passages I highlight my first time reading this book were:

“The child’s new name, sarcastically assigned her by a slave trader, would become the name she would be known by for the rest of her life.”

“As far back as 1462, Pope Pius II had condemned slavery as a terrible crime, and many popes and missionaries after him had worked to end the practice.”

“At moments like this, Bakhita would wonder about the existence of a Supreme Being. Who holds this world together? the young woman asked herself. Who directs our lives? Who allows events to happen? Who helps us to make good choices and avoid bad ones? So many questions. Who had the answers? Someone does, Mimmina, Bakhita whispered to the sleeping child. I’ll find answers to all my questions someday.”

This was the second book about this saint that I have read. The other was Saint Josephine Bakhita: A Survivor of Human Trafficking by Jean Olwen Maynard part of the CTS Biographies Series. Both volumes are well worth the time and effort to read. We have now read over 30 of the books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. And everyone has been worth the read. Though this one is not at times an easy read it is an excellent read in a wonderful series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books about Saint Bakhita of Sudan:
Saint Bakhita of Sudan - Susan Helen Wallace and Wayne Alfano - Encounter the Saints Book 21

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:
Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity

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