Blessed Isidore Bakanja

“One of the holy men remembered by the Church... on 15th August, is Blessed Isidore Bakanja. He was born in 1887 at Bokendela, now in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the age of 18 years Blessed Isidore was baptised and welcomed into the Catholic Church through the missionary work of Cistercians.
Blessed Isidore was a devout convert and catechist. He had a great love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, expressed through his frequent praying of the Rosary and being invested in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
At his first employment Blessed Isidore was permitted by his supervisor to speak of Jesus to the other co-workers which led to many converts to the Faith. At his next employment, however, the supervisor, who was intolerant of religion, forbade Blessed Isidore from teaching other workers how to pray, ‘You’ll have the whole village praying and no one will work’, he was told.
Blessed Isidore refused to stop and also refused to take off his scapular, as ordered by the supervisor. The supervisor then flogged Blessed Isidore twice and then pinned Blessed Isidore on the ground, ripping the scapular from his neck. Blessed Isidore was then beaten over 100 times with a whip with nails at the end. He was then put in chains.
His wounds became severely infected and the supervisor wished to keep Blessed Isidore from the view of the plantation inspector who was visiting. Blessed Isidore was taken outside of the plantation for this visit but he managed to hide in the forest and then dragged himself back and was seen by the plantation inspector, who was horrified at what he saw.
The plantation inspector took Blessed Isidore to his own home and looked after him. The inspector wrote, ‘I saw a man come from the forest with his back torn apart by deep, festering, malodorous wounds, covered with filth, assaulted with flies. He leaned on two sticks in order to get near me – he wasn’t walking; he was dragging himself.’ Blessed Isidore said to the plantation inspector, ‘If you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or if you meet a Priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian.’
Missionaries came to be with Blessed Isidore and reported that he devoutly received his last sacraments. The Missionaries asked Blessed Isidore to forgive the supervisor who had beaten him and he assured them that he had already done so. ‘I shall pray for him. When I am in heaven, I shall pray for him very much’, Blessed Isidore replied. After six months of suffering, Blessed Isidore died from his wounds at the age of 21 years with his Rosary beads in his hands and a Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel around his neck. Blessed Isidore Bakanja was beatified in 1994 by Pope John Paul II.”
(from “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris")
Just me
Thank you for such a beautiful story. I thank GOD for our Saints every day.