Heaven's Boutique

SHOP INSPIRED PRODUCTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

St. Josephine Bakhita

kimberly brambilla

February 8th was the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.  It was also the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita.  What is a feast day you might ask and who was Saint Josephine Bakhita?  

The Catholic Church sets aside days on the liturgical calendar known as "feast days", days to remember or celebrate a canonized saint or religious holiday.  On that day, a particular saint may be remembered and mentioned at Mass, in prayers and in the homily (sermon).  

Saint Josephine Bakhita is both inspirational and relevant today.  Just like the violence and cruelty we see people inflicting upon each other today, St. Bakhita experienced this firsthand.   Born around 1869 in the Darfur region of Sudan, she was kidnapped in 1877 by Arab slave traders.  Traumatized by her capture, she could not speak her name and was given the name Bakhita, meaning "fortunate" in Arabic.  But the years that followed were anything but fortunate for her.  Bought and sold numerous times, Bakhita was beaten, cut, scarred, humiliated and mistreated by different owners.  

She was eventually sold to the Italian Vice Consul, Callisto Legani in 1883.  He was kind to her and when it was time for him to return to Italy he took Bakhita with him and gave her to another family whom she worked for as a nanny.  She was sent with her new owner's daughter to a school in Venice with the Canossian Sisters.  It was there that she became interested in learning about the Christian faith and was baptized.  However, her owner wanted her to return to Sudan with him and she refused.  Supported by the sisters, her case ended up in an Italian court where the decision was reached she was a free woman and had always been free since slavery was not recognized in Italy and had been illegal in Sudan since before she was born. 

In 1896 she became a nun and a witness of kindenss, humility and gentleness for the 50 years that followed.  She was well known and loved for her constant smile and sweetness.  Saint Bakhita chose love over hate.  She once said "If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today ".  Saint Bakhita died February 8, 1947 and was canonized a saint in 2000.  

The injustice of human slavery that still exists today and the story of St. Bakhita's life stirs hearts to action. At Heaven's Boutique we want to help even if in a small way.  For this reason, we promote women and seek out products that benefit women who have been victims of slavery and abuse.   Thank you for joining with us!

Women of Nepal

kimberly brambilla

I knew I wanted to stock the Nepal Angel Bracelets at Heaven's Boutique the first moment I saw them. They caught my eye because they are both colorful and beautiful and I loved that they are hand knitted by women of Nepal.  Anything that promotes and empowers women always catches my attention.  They've become a popular item with people buying them both as gifts and for themselves. After I received the latest shipment, I decided to learn more about what life is like for women in Nepal. 

As in so many parts of the world, life is difficult and challenging for women.  Nepal is the poorest country in South Asia.  In Nepalese culture girls are not always valued as much as boys.  Many girls as young as 5 & 6 years old are forced to work rather than attend school.  Child brides are commonplace.  Nepal is actually one of the few countries where life expectancy of women is lower than that of men.  This is partly due to the fact that many young girls who are married off at young ages become pregnant very young.  Girls and women often face abuse, human trafficking, poor health care, little or no employment or opportunities and abandonment. Often times, many women are left to take care of children and the home alone while the husbands look abroad for work leaving for long periods of time. Widows also are presented with many of these same challenges.  A combination of social & religious beliefs, and cultural norms contribute to the situation many of these women are in. 

Each time I receive a shipment of Nepal Angel Bracelets, package them for customers or put one on myself, I am reminded of these brave women.  Even if only for a few brief moments, my mind focuses its attention on them and their struggles.  I am reminded of how much I've received, encouraged to do more & inspired to pray for them.  

Welcome!

kimberly brambilla

Hello and welcome to Heaven's Boutique!  I'm glad you're here and am thrilled to introduce you to my new store.  The concept was born from a combination of: my love of travel, my experience in Christian retail, frustration of not always finding that "perfect gift", my love of stylish & beautiful things and a desire to empower people living in poverty & difficult circumstances, particularly women.  Here you will find beautiful products from around the world. Whether you are looking for a baptism dress for your sweet baby, a birthday gift for your best friend, or something just for you, you've come to the right place.  And what's better, many of our products help to make a difference in the lives of others.  Please see all of our "Items That Give Back".  Happy Shopping!