August 12: Blessed Isidore Bakanja

August 25

BLESSED ISIDORE BAKANJA

Martyr

Optional Memorial

Isidore Bakanja, a member of the Boangi tribe, was born in Bokendela (Congo) between 1880 and 1890. In order to survive, even as a boy, he had to work as bricklayer or in farms. He was converted to Christianity in 1906. He was working in a plantation run by a colonialist in Ikili and was forbidden by the owner to spread Christianity among his fellow-workers. On 22 April 1909, the superintendent of the business tore off the Carmelite Scapular, which Isidore was wearing as an expression of his Christian faith, and had him severely beaten even to drawing blood. He died on 15 August of the same year as a result of the wounds inflicted in “punishment” for his faith and which he bore patiently while forgiving his aggressor. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 24 April 1994.

From the common of one martyr

PRAYER

Merciful and forgiving Father,
you filled your servant Isidore Bakanja
with the gifts of prayer and witness
and inspired him to heroic patience and pardon
in his atrocious sufferings.
By the grace of Your Holy Spirit,
grant us Your gifts of reconciliation
and perseverance in the faith,
and lead us on the way of justice and peace.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Edmund D Morel_Human Rights Campaigner against Belgian Congo atrocities
Edmund D Morel
Morel was a leading campaigner against the atrocities committed against workers on rubber plantations in the Congo Free State, land owned by King Leopold II of Belgium. He sits at a desk overflowing with paperwork, in front of a large map of Africa. Morel campaigned for an end to the exploitation of native Congolese workers in the rubber plantations of the Congo Free State, owned by King Leopold II of Belgium. Whilst working for the Elder Dempster shipping line, Morel discovered the worthless goods being exchanged for rubber from the Congo Free State, and the large numbers of weapons being sent to Africa to control workers. He campaigned with the Congo Reform Association and British consul in the Congo, Roger Casement, for an investigation into the acts of slavery and violence committed on Congo rubber plantations.
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