Day 2, A Man of Work

True to his motto, “Pray and Work”, Benedict believed in honest, hard work as a way of
glorifying God and helping people in the community. As Principal of Nweli Primary
School, Benedict was wholly dedicated to the work of education. One day a teacher
tried to skip his lesson preparation for the following week by going to the bank in Sibasa
to withdraw his salary. On noticing his absence, Benedict got in his car, chased after
him, stopped the taxi and made the teacher return with him to school to complete his
preparation. That done, Benedict then drove the teacher to the bank.

In his relationship with his learners, Benedict was always motivated by love. He
encouraged them to be diligent, independent and self-reliant. Those unable to pay
school fees were invited to work in his garden to earn their school fees. Benedict would
visit the families of absentees to find out the reason and to see if he could offer help.
With his own children, he worked in his vegetable garden and planted trees – something
quite unusual for school teachers, headmasters, or educated people in general.

Benedict exercised good stewardship by using his money wisely and well. He was the
first in his village to build a brick house with savings from his salary and from selling
vegetables and fruit from his garden and orchard. Through careful budgeting, he
purchased a car, TV set and telephone, but because of envy, some people suspected
him of making use of zombies (corpses supposedly brought back to life by witchcraft).

Word of God

It will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted his
possessions to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two; to a third, one – to
each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received the
five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who
received two made another two. (Matthew 25, 14-15)

Deepening of Faith

Nazareth, O House of the ‘Carpenter’s son’, it is here that we would like to understand
and celebrate the severe and redemptive law for human labour; here restore awareness
of the nobility of work; here remember that work is not an end in itself, but its freedom
and its nobility come, as well as its economic value, from values which are its goal; how
we would like to finally welcome here all workers of the world and show them their great
model, their divine brother, the Prophet of all their just causes, Christ our Lord. (Pope Paul
VI, Address in Nazareth, 5 January 1964)

Reflection

Am I doing my job/work as well as I can?
Do I feel ashamed when doing manual work?

Prayer

People go forth to do their work, to their labour till the evening falls.
How varied are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you have made them all;
The earth is full of your creatures. (Psalm 104, 23-24)

Prayer for the Beatification of Benedict Daswa

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