St. Daniele Comboni and the Comboni Missionaries in Limone sul Garda

A son of poor gardeners who became the first Catholic Bishop of Central Africa.

The town of Limone sul Garda gave birth to Daniel Comboni, the founder of the Comboni missionary institutes. In his teens he decided to become a priest and in 1849 he swore to dedicate his life to Sub-Saharan Africa.
He completed his studies in Philosophy and Theology and was ordained a priest (1854).
In 1857 he left on his first trip for Central Africa, the present Sudan: he immediately made aware of the multiple difficulties that are part of his new mission. But laboursm unbearable climate, sickness, the deaths of several of his young fellow-missionaries, the poverty and dereliction of the population, only serve to dirve him forward, never dreaming of giving up what he has taken on with such great enthusiasm. Continuing in his hard work, he felt an interior confirmation of his decision to carry on in the mission "O Nigrizia o morte!" - Africa or death.
Returned to Italy, in 1864 while in Rome, he draws the "Plan for the Rebirth of Africa", that can be summed up in an expression "Save Africa through Africa". Comboni had indeed immense trust in the ability of African peoples and worked hard to establish schools in which to train doctors, teachers, priests and nuns from Africa and to set them up in places where the climate was bearable even for Europeans.
On June 1867 he founded a missionary institute - that later would take the name of Comboni - and in 1872 an institute for women. In the same year he founded a magazine that a decade later became the present Nigrizia. In 1870 he took part in the First Vatican Council, where he presented a petition for the evangelisation of Central Africa.
In 1872 the Pope decided to entrust to Comboni the mission in Central Africa and in 1877 Comboni was ordained Bishop of that area.
In 1877 and 1878 he and all his missionaries are tormented in body and spirit by the tragedy of a drought followed by starvation with precedent. The local population are halved, and the missionary personnel and their activities reduced almost to nothing.
In 1880, Bishop Comboni travelled to Africa for the eighth and last time with the intent on continuing the struggle against the pernicious Slave Trade and on consolidating the missionary activity carried out by Africans themselves. Just one year later, on 10th October 1881, he died in Khartoum, among his people.
But his work did not die. Indeed, it continues to live through the giving of their lives by many women and men who have chosen to follow Comboni along the path of his arduous yet exhilarating mission.
He was proclaimed saint on the 5th October 2003.

In Comboni Center of "Tesöl" it is possible to have insights in the life of Daniel Comboni and visit his Birthplace that consists in the simple kitchen, the adjacent bedroom of the parents, adorned with the letters from their son, the children's bedroom above connected to the kitchen by a wooden staircase and the small church constructed from the old woodshed. Under the house there is an altar in olive wood, the tabernacle in wrought iron and wooden works of the Alto Adige sculptor Paul Mussner (the Holy Family, the crucifix and the lectern). In the gallery exhibition-museum is briefly outlined the idea of the African peoples and culture of the regions where Comboni worked; in the multimedial gallery it is possible to discover life, passion and works of this great missionary.
To complete the visit have a walk in the characteristic park.

Centro Missionari Comboniani
Via Campaldo Loc.Tesöl -25010 Limone sul Garda (BS)
Tel +39 - 0365 - 954091, Fax +39 - 0365 - 954767
Internet site:
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