Tuesday 13 September 2016 marks the first anniversary of the beatification of South Africa’s first martyr, Blessed Tshimangadzo Samuel Benedict Daswa.
The cause for Blessed Daswa’s beatification began back in 2008, and Pope Francis authorised the decree to make him a Blessed in January 2015.
During the beatification ceremony in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, South Africa a year ago, Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints read out the decree from Pope Francis describing Daswa as “a layman, a family man and an educator who gave heroic witness of the Gospel.”
At the time Cardinal Amato also told Vatican Radio’s Roberto Piermarini that by beatifying Daswa, the Catholic Church was inviting the faithful “to nourish only feelings of love, of brotherhood, harmony, solidarity beyond any ethnic, social and religious divisions,” the Cardinal said.
Also commenting on the beatification of Blessed Daswa, the Archbishop of Pretoria in South Africa, William Slattery at the time said, Daswa’s beatification was a sign that he died for his faith in Jesus, and that was why the Church celebrated him for who he was.
Archbishop Slattery said through the beatification, “The Pope is saying: People of the world, here is an ancestor, a spiritual ancestor…an example for the whole world …and also our companion on the road towards God because we are all a family; living and dead, we are all moving towards God,” said the Archbishop of Pretoria. He added, “Saints and Blesseds are God’s gift to us, an example of God’s grace at work in his people,”
Born on the 16 June 1946 in Mbahe, Blessed Daswa, the father of eight children, was known during his life as a good family man, active in the Church and a leader of his community in rural South Africa.
Benedict Daswa’s feast day falls on the 1 February each year.
(Festus Tarawalie, Vatican Radio)