Blessed Benedict Daswa Pilgrimage

SSVP Youth at the Blessed Benedict Daswa pilgrimage

From 23-25 February, a large contingent of SSVP Youth attended the Blessed Benedict Daswa Pilgrimage at Tshitanini, Venda. Their presentation was well received by young people from South Africa, Swaziland, and Botswana.

The event included a youth fiesta of music, dance, poems and short sketches, praise and worship and various presentations, including one of anti-human trafficking by Sr Melanie. Later, attendees reflected on the life of Blessed Benedict Daswa before the rosary and candle light mysteries.

Who was Benedict Daswa?

Benedict Daswa was a South African school teacher and principal. Although his family was Jewish, he converted to Catholicism after learning about the faith from a friend. He took the name ‘Benedict’ when he was baptized, in honour of Benedict of Nursia; he also adopted his motto “Ora et labora” (pray and work).

After qualifying as a teacher, Daswa worked with young people and helped poorer members of his community. He was a highly respected member of the community, known for his honesty, truthfulness and integrity. He helped to build the first church in his area and ultimately became the principal of the school where he taught.

He was 43 years old when he died at the hands of a mob for refusing to contribute towards, or take part in a witch hunt, because of his faith. His martyrdom was confirmed by the Catholic Church in 2015, paving the way for his beatification, which took place in Limpopo on 13 September 2015.

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