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Slain Nigerian monk spent last hours helping his brother monks

Br. Godwin, a Benedictine monk from the monastery of Eruku in Nigeria, was slain on October 18, 2023, by his kidnappers.

Facebook / Bénédictins d'Eruku

Br. Godwin, a Benedictine monk from the monastery of Eruku in Nigeria, was slain on October 18, 2023, by his kidnappers.

Cécile Séveirac - published on 12/28/23

Before being brutally murdered by his kidnappers in Nigeria in October 2023, Brother Godwin saw to it that the two other monks held captive with him were fed.

“I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink […] Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:35,40). Did Brother Godwin remember this teaching of Christ as he was being held by his ruthless jailers, whose relentlessness led to his death?

Kidnapped on October 17 along with two other Benedictine monks from the Eruku monastery (Ilorin diocese, north-central Nigeria), Br. Godwin showed unfailing devotion to the other two monks, who survived. Before he was brutally murdered on October 18, Br. Godwin saw to it that his two other brothers, who were being held captive with him, were fed, according to one of them, Brother Peter.

When the three monks had been walking barefoot for several hours on empty stomachs, their captors gave them two biscuits to eat, fearing that their hostages would die before they could obtain a ransom. Br. Godwin, the only one with a free hand, was able to hand the two biscuits to Br. Peter and Br. Anthony, whose hands were tied.

“They momentarily loosened Br. Godwin’s hand to allow him to feed us. I remember him holding up the biscuits for each of us to take a bite in turns. I will never forget the love and reassurance in his eyes when he fed us,” recalls Br. Peter in an interview with ACI Africa.

Kidnapping in the middle of the night

On October 17, in the middle of the night, nine armed men burst into the monastery. Armed with machetes and AK-47 assault rifles, they took Brs. Godwin, Peter and Anthony by force. For the three monks, it was the beginning of hell. Exhausted by the march and the blows inflicted by their torturers, the monks continue to pray silently. “It was Bother Godwin’s idea that we continue with our mental prayers. We would signal each other to pray silently since the men didn’t want to hear the mention of the name ‘Jesus.’”

The violence reached a climax on October 18. “I heard Godwin cry out in a very loud voice. One of the men flashed a torch light and I could see my brother standing in a pool of his blood. A big piece of wood had torn through his ankle, baring his flesh. As he struggled to remove the piece of wood from his leg with his hands tied behind his back, he stumbled and fell into a large pit.”

Shortly afterwards, Br. Godwin was shot dead. The other two monks were forced to throw the body into the river themselves. Freed on October 22, the traumatized Brs. Peter and Antony are gradually recovering from their ordeal. “Br. Godwin was my senior in the monastery. He guided me on many occasions. […] He was that loving and caring,” says Br. Peter. “I have no doubt that Br. Godwin is in heaven.

Inspiring storiesNigeria
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