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Blessed Benedict Daswa

MSCs Celebrate Beatification of Benedict Daswa

Posted on 13. Sep, 2015

Fr. Gus O'Brien MSC spends time at the tomb of Benedict Daswa. Fr. Gus baptised Benedict.

Fr. Gus O’Brien MSC spends time at the tomb of Benedict Daswa. Fr. Gus baptised Benedict.

The beatification of Benedict Daswa took place earlier today at the Benedict Daswa Shrine Site in Tshitanini near Thohoyandou (17 kms north -east of the Thohoyandou Stadium) in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. The representative of Pope Francis at the celebration will be His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Amato SDB, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He was joined by clergy from Tzaneen and many local people, as well as MSCs from the South African Region and those who travelled from Ireland for the special day.

 

 

Many MSCs, including Fr. Michael O'Connell, travelled to South Africa to celebrate Benedict's life with the local community

Many MSCs, including Fr. Michael O’Connell, travelled to South Africa to celebrate Benedict’s life with the local community

Daswa was brutally murdered on the 2nd February 1990, nine days before Nelson Mandela was released. It was late afternoon. He had been giving a person with a heavy load a lift in his bakkie, because there was no public transport. As he was driving home he found the road blocked with stones and logs. When he got out to remove the blockade a rain of stones came from the bushes. He ran to the nearby household, pursued by a crowd of men. He hid inside one of the rondavels, a traditional South African hut. They came and asked the woman who was in the yard to tell them where he gone. She refused, but when they threatened her she pointed him out. They brought him outside and as he prayed “Father, receive my spirit” he was murdered. He had said that, as a Catholic, he could accept neither the power of witchcraft nor the violent witch hunts that inevitably ensued. For his steadfast faith and sacrifice, the Church has recognised him as a blessed martyr.

 

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For the BBC Programme on Benedict Daswa click here.

 

To read the interview with Fr. John Finn MSC click here. Fr. John was the main celebrant at Benedict’s funeral Mass.