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Who was St. Charles Lwanga?

St. Charles Lwanga

Wulman83 | CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Philip Kosloski - published on 06/03/22

St. Charles Lwanga was a Ugandan martyr, killed for his Catholic beliefs in 1886.

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St. Charles Lwanga was a convert to the Catholic Church in the late 19th century, inspired by the example and teaching of Catholic missionaries in Africa.

Lwanga served as chief of the royal pages and later major-domo in the court of King Mwanga II of Buganda.

When Lwanga entered the royal service, he was a catechumen and served an as assistant to Joseph Mukaso, leader of the court pages at the time.

Joseph Mukaso was soon killed by King Mwanga for his faith, and on the same night Charles Lwanga was baptized into the Catholic faith.

Lwanga continued to practice his faith and instructed others as well. He also did what he could to protect himself and the other pages from the sexual advances of King Mwanga.

King Mwanga was known for his sexual advances towards young boys, while at the same time having at least 16 wives in his lifetime.

Shortly after the death of Mukaso, King Mwanga questioned Lwanga and many other pages, asking them if they would renounce their Christian faith.

They all refused and for that disobedience, King Mwanga sent Lwanga and his companions to be burned to death at Namugongo on June 3, 1886.

St. Charles Lwanga was canonized, along with many other Christian martyrs, on October 18, 1964, by Pope Paul VI.

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