St Charles Lwanga and Companions

03 Jun 2023

Charles and 21 other Ugandan martyrs, ages 14 to 30, were officials and pages in the court of King Mwanga II of Buganda.

The king, after first accepting Christianity among his people, began to insist that converts abandon their new faith.

He also preyed sexually on the young men at court. As head of the pages and their chief catechist, Charles tried to protect his charges.

But, when they would not reject Christianity, they were killed in 1885-86; some were speared to death and others, like Charles, were burned alive.

These first martyrs from sub-Saharan Africa were canonized in Uganda in 1964 by Pope Paul VI; they are the patrons of African Catholic Youth Action, converts and torture victims.