On 2 February 1990, after dropping home the man with the bag of mealie-meal,
Benedict found his way blocked by tree logs across the road. When he got out of the car
to remove them, a mob of young boys and men came from behind the bushes and
began throwing large stones at him. Bleeding and injured, he left the car and ran across
a soccer field hoping for assistance from a nearby Shebeen (a place where alcoholic
drink is sold illegally). Seeing an open door at the rondavel kitchen he ran straight in to
hide and save his life.
The mob who quickly chased after him, asked the woman there where Benedict was
hiding, threatening to kill her if she did not tell them. Pointing to where Benedict was
hiding, she pleaded, “Don’t kill me. He is inside”. Two of the mob entered and pulled
Benedict out. Hugging one of them, Benedict pleaded, “Please, spare my life!” The youth
responded, “OK. Let me go, we’re not going to kill you.” Believing him, Benedict went out.
As the mob had now surrounded the rondavel, Benedict could not escape, so seeing one
of them coming with a knobkerrie, he knelt and prayed. Things then moved very
quickly. The man hit Benedict on the head with his knobkerrie, crushing his skull.
Benedict fell to the ground. Boiling water was then poured over his head, ears, nostrils
and other injuries.
The burial Mass was concelebrated on 10 February 1990. At it all the priests wore red
vestments because they believed that Benedict had died for his faith. It was his stance
against witchcraft which had brought about Benedict’s death.
Word of God
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven…Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil
against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in
heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5, 10-12)
Deepening of Faith
For it is the function of the Church, led by the Holy Spirit Who renews and purifies her
ceaselessly, to make God the Father and His Incarnate Son present and in a sense
visible. This result is achieved chiefly by the witness of a living and mature faith, namely,
one trained to see difficulties clearly and to master them. Many martyrs have given
luminous witness to this faith and continue to do so. By their example they have shown us,
and made smooth for us, so to speak, the path to the future. All that remains for us is,
with God’s grace, to follow in their footsteps. (GS 21. See also NNI 41)
How does the courage of martyrs like Benedict help me to live my faith?
How can I stand up for my faith, both in private and in public life?
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity forever.
(Luke 1, 46-55 – The Magnificat)