Carmelite Saints & Blesseds
Blessed Isidor Bakanja
August 12: Celebrated as an Optional Memorial from the Common of One Martyr.
Blessed 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.
God of power and mercy,
you gave Isidor Bakanja, your martyr,
victory over pain and suffering.
Strengthen us who celebrate this day of his triumph
and help us to be victorious over the evils that threaten us.
Through Christ our Lord.
Image courtesy of the websmaster for Monastero Carmelitane, Ostuni, Italy.