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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Namugongo Catholic Martyrs Shrine

Today we visited Namugongo where 24 Catholic martyrs were killed. These martyrs were killed by the King of Buganda, which is located in the southern portion of Uganda. 13 of the Catholic men were burned at this site, while others were chopped into pieces, beheaded, or speared to death. The reason for their deaths vary, as some angered the king and talked back to him, and others pleaded against his orders and refused to give into his demands that conflicted with their religion.

This site is composed of numerous shrines dedicated to those that stood by their faith. Along with the shrines, a Minor Basilica stands on the grounds of the site. On June 3rd of every year, over a million religious men and women embark on a pilgrimage to the shrine to recognize the annual Martyrs Day religious holiday.

Overall, this day proved to be very impactful. Each and every one of us were deeply saddened by the deaths of the martyrs. While at the shrine, many of us reflected on the events and how they impacted our lives, as well as offer prayers in the Basilica. The day was definitely vital to our learning on sustainable development in Uganda, as it pertained directly to the social pillar.

A couple questions I have for the fellow students are what was the most interesting fact you learned? as well as what sort of emotions did you feel after visiting?


  1. I did not know that there could be a "Minor Basilica", so thank you for pointing that out! I thought that it was really cool that the alter was above the site that the martyrs were burned, although I thought that it was strange that the Catholics were able to use the site for their shrine and the other religions that were prosecuted did not even have a memorial near the site. I think that it was really impactful because not only were we told that these people were burned alive we saw the statue in the photo above show the process.

  2. My emotions were all over the place, it was really difficult for me to hear about the horrible tortures that were done to the martyrs. I got very emotional when I saw the statue of the martyr being burned. The most interesting fact I learned was the fact that people walk very very far to come to the shrine. I think that is so cool and interesting to know.

  3. I thought this day was very striking. It was sad to hear about the disturbing things that happened, but also very interesting. I think I was most surprised to hear about how celebratory this day is, because it marks such a tragic event. I was also very surprised that something with such a tumultuous religious history is so widely accepted, because that would certainly not be the case in America.

  4. I definitely agree that this day was a very powerful and reflective. There is just something humbling about being in a place where people were willing to lay down their lives for their own beliefs, which truly demands respect from all regardless of what faith you identify with.