Together We Can Make It!
St. Kizito Being Baptised
St. Kizito Being Baptised

St. Kizito and the Ugandan Martyrs Part 1 of 3

May 20, 2019 05:06am
T

he St. Kizito Foundation is named after a fourteen-year-old martyr, Kizito. Kizito was one of the Ugandan martyrs who suffered death rather than renounce his Catholic faith on June 3rd, 1886. Kizito was the youngest martyr. The following is a story of incredible faith and inspiring witness to Christ – it is the story of the Ugandan martyrs.

St. Kizito being Baptised

The Ugandan Martyrs refer to a group of forty-five Christians – twenty-two Catholics and twenty-three Anglicans – who were tortured and killed over a period stretching from 1885 to 1887 for their faith.  Christians were persecuted by the Kabaka or ruler who was, during this period, Mwanda, ruler of the people of Buganda.  Buganda is now known as the country of Uganda.

Priests belonging to the Missionaries in Africa, commonly referred to as the White Fathers (due to their white habits), arrived in Uganda in 1879.  They were met with little resistance at first.  The White Fathers shared their Christian faith among the people of Buganda.  Their teaching and preaching were tolerated without incident.  That changed when the Kabaka, Mutesa, died and was succeeded by his son, Mwanga.  Mwanga viewed Christianity as a threat to his power.

The Christian views on morality – especially the teaching that pedophilia was a sin – did not help endear them to Mwanda, who was a pedophile and routinely solicited sexual favors from his young pages.  His chief page, Joseph Mukasa was a Catholic who did his best to protect his young charges.  He even had the courage and conviction to confront Mwanga and insist he give up his sinful ways.  Mwanga’s response was to have him beheaded.

Joseph Mukasa was succeeded as chief page by Charles Lwanga who also was a Catholic and who also was vigorous in his protection of the young pages.  Mwanga became increasing enraged as the pages, St. Kizito among them, continually refused and rebuffed Mwanga’s sexual advances. Mwanga eventually had the pages brought before him giving them a choice to renounce their Christian faith and live – or choose to keep their faith and die.

Many of the pages including Charles Lwanga and Kizito choose their faith.  There were fifteen in the group who were bound and made to walk two days to the Namugongo where they would be killed.  One of the Christians, Matthias Kalemba, was martyred enroute. 

Upon reaching Namugongo, Charles Lwanga was the first to be burned at the stake.  The following is a moving excerpt taken from the Catholic News agency:

The executioners slowly burnt his feet until only the charred remained.  Still alive, they promised him that they would let him go if he renounced his faith.  He refused saying, “You are burning me, but it is as if you are pouring water over my body.”  He then continued to pray silently as they set him on fire.  [Source]

The other pages were burned alive together.  As they were being executed, their faith remained strong until the end, praying and signing hymns.

The death of these martyrs had quite the opposite effect the Kabaka intended. Many witnessing the horrific deaths of these amazing young men who gave their young lives so willingly for their faith, asked to be baptized. 

Share this post

Thank You for Visiting St. Kizito Foundation

Your Generous Contribution Will Help Educate Students in Uganda
Together We Can Make It!

St. Kizito Foundation supports approximately 300 students in their education and life.  We have students at all levels of study, although our primary focus is to provide our participants with sufficient and appropriate education so that they may earn a living and have a successful life. 

Our students are in schools of their choice, based on school and government standards of acceptance.  Students are assisted by St. Kizito counselors and staff in determining the best placement.   

On these pages, we hope to give you a glimpse of the treasure we believe our participants to be.  Enjoy, and feel free to offer communication or words of wisdom that we can forward to Uganda!