Samuel Benedict Daswa (1946-90), a school teacher who was brutally murdered after he denounced witchcraft, was beatified as a martyr near Thohoyandou, South Africa, on September 13.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at the Mass of beatification. Agence France-Presse reported that 30,000 people, including Daswa’s 91-year-old mother and his eight children, were in attendance. (Daswa’s wife died in 2008.)
A convert who was baptized at the age of 16, Blessed Daswa was “a man of incredible generosity,” said Father John Finn, the priest who buried him. “He was always bringing people to hospitals, taking care of children and elders.”
Following his September 13 Angelus address, Pope Francis said that Blessed Daswa
was killed for his fidelity to the Gospel. In his life, he always showed consistency, courageously taking on Christian attitudes and refusing worldly and pagan customs. May his witness especially help families to spread the truth and charity of Christ, and may his witness, united with the witness of so many of our brothers and sisters– youth, elderly, boys and girls, children– all persecuted, driven out, and killed for announcing Jesus Christ. To all these martyrs, to Samuel Benedict Daswa and to all of them, let us thank them for their witness, and we ask that they intercede for us.