Above: Blessed Benedict Daswa
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BLESSED BENEDICT DASWA (JUNE 16, 1946-FEBRUARY 2, 1990)
Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr
Superstition is cowardice in face of the divine.
–Theophrastus (circa 371-circa 287 B.C.E.)
Blessed Benedict Daswa is a recent addition to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints.
Tshimangaszo Daswa, born to Tshililo Petrus Daswa and Thidziambi Ida Gundala Daswa at Mbahe, Limpopo, South Africa, on June 16, 1946, belonged to the Lemba tribe, the Black Jews. He took the name “Samuel” in school. Our saint converted to Roman Catholicism in 1963, taking the name “Benedict” after St. Benedict of Nursia. Daswa trained as a teacher and eventually became a principal. In 1974 our saint married Shadi Eveline Monyai (died in 2008); the couple had eight children. He was also a catechist who helped to build the first Roman Catholic parish church in his immediate area. Furthermore, Daswa was active in civil matters.
In January 1990 a series of storms affected Mbahe. Local elders declared that magic was the cause of these storms and that villagers would have to pay taxes to finance witchcraft, to resolve the situation. Daswa objected to this superstition and refused to pay the tax. A mob ambushed our saint on February 2, 1990, then beat him, stabbed him, and poured boiling water over his face before leaving him for dead. Daswa’s last words were:
God, into your hands receive my spirit.
Our saint was 43 years old when he died.
Our saints family lives in the same village, alongside the murderers.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS
THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER
THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS
THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII
Everloving God, by your grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Benedict Daswa
triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death; strengthen us with your grace
that we may faithfully witness to Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
2 Chronicles 24:17-21
Psalm 3 or Psalm 116
–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), page 680