Bl. 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 a 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 while drawing blood. He died on August 15 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.
Lord, help us work for a world where all may speak their creeds and pray their prayers like Isidore Bakanja, without fear of violence. Hear the prayers of those who abide with you in dangerous times and in dark valleys, and who die with your name on their lips. Draw them quickly to your side where they might know eternal peace. Amen.