Veronica Zapana S. / La Paz
Fray Wilberth Daza, the religious who provided food and even paid the rent for several people living in poverty in the municipality of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, was murdered last Saturday night in the San Francisco church by a former novice from the order, according to a police report. The religious was transferred to the town of Macharetí, where he will be buried.
“In the San Francisco church there is a piggy bank called Pan de San Antonio. Everything that fell (was collected) there, was distributed for the needs of the people,” the rector of the minor basilica of San Francisco La Paz, Fray Samuel Abiyu OFM, told Página Siete, recalling that Daza had the gift of “ make donations reach among the most needy”. “He was known as the bursar of the church because he managed the resources well,” he noted.
Abiyu has known Daza since 2009 and during this time he discovered the heart of solidarity. “He saw that I had no clothes (…) He bought two shirts and gave them to me,” the priest recalled.
Daza not only collaborated with people on the street, but also with everyone who asked him for help. “He bought little bread and delivered sacks of bread to the secretary so that people with limited resources could go and take that food away,” Abiyu said.
The religious recalled that when he visited Fray Daza, he always met families who asked him for help. “Some asked him to rent him, others for school supplies or uniforms, others for clothes or food, such as sugar, rice and noodles, among others. He always helped them,” he said, noting that Daza never denied his help. “He was a very good and charitable man,” he added.
Abiyu said that the friar was a fair, honest and humble man. “He hurt me a lot how they murdered him,” he said grimly.
Fray Wilberth Daza was murdered in the San Francisco church in the city of Santa Cruz. Next to this temple is the convent where five religious postulants of the order lived. From the place they took everything that contained the religious’s safe, cell phone and computer, according to the investigation.
Daza was found dead with signs of violence in one of the corridors near the bathroom. According to prosecutor María Rivero, the priest died with 17 stab wounds to the head. Relatives, neighbors and the people who received his help demanded justice. “Who is going to collaborate with us now, who will we turn to?” said a citizen.
According to police reports, the identity of the possible author is already known. It would be Marco Lucas F., who lived in the convent some time ago, but was removed by Daza because he had “bad conduct.”
Abiyu assured that he did not know Flores, but acknowledged that he was a postulant and reached the novitiate. “He retired,” he maintained.
The Franciscans are religious who are characterized by coming together in community and living as brothers, in the style of Saint Francis of Assisi. That order is governed by its own rules, one of which is to take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. For the latter they are sent to any part of the country to serve the people, according to documents.
Abiyu said that according to the order temporary vows are made and if they decide to continue, then perpetual vows are made. Daza did them in 2009 and since then he has been a friar. He later went to Cochabamba as bursar.
Then he returned to Santa Cruz, to the church where he was trained as a religious and where he was assassinated.
According to his brother Edil Daza, he was very shy and did not want to go to church, but when he entered he did not want to leave. He stressed that Brother Daza entered the order at the age of 22. He lost his life at the age of 44 in the same church.
Prosecutor Rivero indicated that the cause of death, according to the forensic examination, was severe cranial polytrauma.
Daza was veiled yesterday at the San Antonio church in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and was later transferred to Macharetí, Chuquisaca, where he will be buried.