|Martyrs of Uganda- Joseph Kalinda|
Most Catholics are familiar with the Martyrs of Uganda as their feast on June 3 is now celebrated as a memorial.
St. Charles Lwanga and his companions were a group of Christians (both Roman Catholics and Anglicans) who were murdered by Mwanga II, the Kabaka (King) of Buganda, between 1885 and 1887. Some martyrs were young boys. They were slain with horrible cruelty. All were converts of the White Fathers founded by Charles Cardinal Lavigerie in 1868.
"The African martyrs add another page to the Church’s roll of honor – an occasion both of mourning and of joy. These African martyrs herald the dawn of a new age. If only the mind of man might be directed not toward persecutions and religious conflicts but toward a rebirth of Christianity and civilization! Africa has been washed by the blood of these latest martyrs, and first of this new age (and, God willing, let them be the last, although such a holocaust is precious indeed). Africa is reborn free and independent." - from the homily at the canonization of Saint Charles Lwanga and companions by Pope Paul VI
The 20th century, which has been the most violent in recorded history, has created a roll of Christian martyrs far exceeding that of any previous period. I recently came across a recent young martyr from South Africa.
|Icon- Mark Dukes|
MANCHE MASEMOLA, born in 1910, at age 18 joined a class to prepare for baptism in her native Sekhukhuneland (Africa). She attended classes with her cousin Lucia, against the wishes of her parents. When she came home she would be beaten by her parents. Manche found herself saying that she would be baptized in her own blood. Her parents took her to a spirit priest, claiming that she had been bewitched. She was prescribed a traditional remedy, which her parents made her consume by beating her. She died shortly after without having been baptized. Manche's mother denied this but 40 years later was herself baptized.
Manche was declared a martyr by the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa) in less than ten years.
She is one of the ten 20th-century martyrs from across the world who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London. Interestingly enough Dr. Martin King Jr. is another of the ten.
|John Roberts- Westminster Abbey|