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Saint of the Day for 3 June: Saints Charles Lwanga and 12 companions

Saints Charles Lwanga and 12 Companions: Life, Martyrdom and Legacy of Ugandan Martyrs


Saints Charles Lwanga and 12 companions



Baptismal name

Charles Lwanga


1865, Africa


1886, Namugongo, Uganda


3 June


2004 edition


June 6, 1920, Rome, Pope Benedict XV


October 18, 1964, Rome, Pope Paul VI


O God, who in the glorious martyrdom of Saints Charles Lwanga and twelve companions gave us a sign of your loving presence in the Church, grant that we, who trust in his intercession, may imitate him in steadfastness of faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Roman Martyrology

Memory of Saints Charles Lwanga and twelve companions, martyrs, who, aged between fourteen and thirty, belonging to the royal court of young nobles or to King Mwanga’s bodyguard, neophytes or fervent followers of the Catholic faith, having refused to acquiesce to the king’s turbanous demands, on the hill of Namugongo in Uganda were some pierced with swords, others burned alive in fire.

The Saint and Mission

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Saints Charles Lwanga and his 12 companions embody an extraordinary mission of faith and courage in the history of the Church. These young men, who converted to Christianity in Uganda in the late 19th century, distinguished themselves by their dedication to Christ despite pressure and threats from King Mwanga II. In a time of fierce persecution, Charles Lwanga, a catechist, and his companions refused to renounce their faith, demonstrating a resilience and determination that has become an inspiration to many. Their mission was rooted in their unwavering faith and willingness to witness to Christ even at the cost of their lives. They faced torture and death with serenity and courage, preferring martyrdom to denial of their faith. This sacrifice not only strengthened the Christian community in Uganda, but also spread a powerful message of faith and love throughout the world. The story of Charles Lwanga and his fellow martyrs is a reminder of the depth of faith and the power of Christian witness. Their mission lives on, inspiring generations to live with integrity and courage, defending the truth of the gospel and facing challenges with faith and hope.

The Saint and Mercy

St. Charles Lwanga and his 12 companions are a powerful example of how divine mercy is manifested through courage and faith. Despite the terrible persecution to which they were subjected, these young men maintained a steadfast adherence to their Christian faith, showing deep mercy not only to themselves but also to their persecutors. Their ability to forgive and pray for those who tormented them reflects a mercy that transcends human understanding. These Ugandan martyrs showed how true mercy is not just an act of compassion but a radical commitment to the love of God and neighbor, even in the face of death. Their witness is an invitation to all Christians to live a life of forgiveness and unconditional love, embodying Christ’s mercy in all circumstances. Their story reminds us that mercy is a powerful force that can transform hearts and lives, inspiring a faith that endures all trials.


Black Africa’s first martyrs were Charles Lwanga and twelve other page companions in the court of Uganda’s King Mwanga, converted to Christianity by White Fathers Charles was burned alive in Namugongo with twelve companions in Kampala in 1886 because they claimed to pray to death during the persecution ordered by the king himself; nine others were killed by the sword. The persecutions lasted until 1887 and…


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