Charles Lwanga

Photo added by Debbie Kearns

Charles Lwanga

  • Birth 1860
  • Death 3 Jun 1886
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Ashes scattered into the winds
  • Memorial ID 29118251

Roman Catholic Saint. Also known as Carl or Karoli Lwanga. He was born possibly in Birinzi Village in Buddu County, somewhere in Buganda, Uganda, though his parentage is unknown, and he was of the Ngabi clan of the tribe of Muganda. He was brought up by Kaddu at an early age, and in August 1878, he was placed in the service of Mawulugungu, chief of Kirwanyi (who later died in 1882). He became the chief of the royal pages who lived in the time of King Mutesa I and his son Mwanga II when Christianity came into Uganda between 1877 and 1879. After Mutesa's death on October 19, 1884, Mwanga came to power at age 16 and demanded that Christians renounce their faith on pain of torture or death, and that his pages engage in pedophilic activities. Many pages, including Lwanga, refused to engage in such activities and went into hiding with some Christian missionaries, while Mwanga had many missionaries, including archbishop James Hannington, slaughtered. Lwanga was baptized by Pere Ludovic Girault and Pere Simeon Lourdel on November 15, 1885, on the same day that Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe was martyred; and Lwanga assumed Balikuddembe's duties. Even after the events of the fire of the royal palace on February 22, 1886, he rebuked Mwanga for such actions but fell into disfavor. On May 25, Lwanga and his fellow pages were discovered by Mwanga, arrested and put in jail. The next day, while Denis Ssebuggwawo, Anderea Kaggwa and Ponsiano Ngondwe were martyred, Lwanga secretly baptized his four fellow pages: Gyavire, Kizito, Mbaga Tuzinde, and Muggaga. The next morning, May 27, Lwanga and his 15 fellow Catholic pages were condemned to death. Three of them (Antanansio Bazzekuketta, Gonzaga Gonza and Nowa Mawaggali) were martyred both on the way to Namugongo and during their imprisonment there for a week. Lwanga encouraged the remaining pages to remain faithful until death. On the day of their execution (that is, June 3, the Ascension of the Lord), he and the 11 remaining pages were wrapped in reed mats and laid down on a furnace pyre, joined in by the body of his fellow page Tuzinde, who had been beaten to death for refusing to renounce Christianity; and they were burned alive. As Lwanga (who was not yet 26 years old) was being burned, one executioner, Ssenkoole, urged him to save himself, but Lwanga replied, "Poor madman, you are burning me, but it's as if you are pouring water over my body. Please repent and become a Christian like me." His death, along with 21 other martyrs, resulted in the eventual rebellion against and exile of Mwanga. In 1920, Lwanga and his 21 other companions were beatified by Pope Benedict XV, and on October 18, 1964, they were canonized by Pope Paul VI, and a shrine or basilica church was built in Namugongo in their honor. Lwanga is the patron saint of African Catholic Youth Action, converts and torture victims, and his joint feast day with 21 others is June 3.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Debbie Kearns
  • Added: 18 Aug 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29118251
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Lwanga (1860–3 Jun 1886), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29118251, ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Ashes scattered into the winds.