The Life of Daniel Comboni
Comboni was emboldened to carry on his mission through dramatic events and his mother Domenica’s prayer, before setting out new mission strategies after visiting St Peter’s tomb in Rome.
He devised a plan to evangelize Africa using Africans themselves; his motto, “Save Africa with Africa,” sums this up perfectly.
Early Life and Education
At 18 years of age, Daniel Comboni launched his priestly and missionary vocation at the Mazza Institute in Verona. There he studied languages and medicine while learning about Africa’s geography. Realising that Africans would need to evangelise themselves he created his Plan for Rebirth of Africa with great appreciation of women’s roles within society.
In 1854 he set sail for Africa with five fellow missionaries from Mazza Institute and with Domenica’s blessing: “Go, Daniel! May the Lord bless you!” His journey was full of challenges but that only strengthened his determination to fulfill his missionary task; eventually founding two missionary congregations: Comboni Missionaries and Sisters which continue their founder’s charism to this day.
Comboni was an outstanding professional who could work effectively across cultures and understood the issues facing both Church and society, which allowed him to build lasting relationships in local communities. His skillset was vast and included entrepreneurship, fundraising and leadership.
Comboni was mesmerised by Africa during his studies at Fr Nicola Mazza’s institute and set sail with five others for Central Africa after graduation in 1854.
Comboni was dedicated to ending slavery and spent much of his time formulating an effective missionary work strategy, emphasizing African self-evangelization as part of the plan. In Europe he traveled searching for funds. Yet through all his difficulties Comboni always had an enormous love of God in his heart.
Achievement and Honors
Comboni was an idealistic man, dedicated to Africa. While others might become distracted by myriad causes and pursuits, he remained focused on his task and mission at hand.
He devised an ingenious plan that not only spread the Gospel to those who had never encountered it before, but also prepared Africans themselves to evangelize their own people — an idea revolutionary for its time. The motto he coined encapsulates his trust in African peoples: “Save Africa with Africa.”
He was an exemplary community member in practice long before he came to think in such terms. He understood that mission comes from trinitarian koinonia, and this communion enables great things to happen.
Comboni was dedicated solely to evangelising. Taking an oath of dedication to Central Africa through his life’s missionary calling gave him faith in their capacity as peoples; this motivated him in 1864 when visiting Saint Peter’s tomb at Vatican to devise fresh missionary strategies, creating his famous Plan for Rebirth of Africa whose motto can be summarized as: Save Africa through Africa”.
Comboni was born in Limone sul Garda on March 15, 1831 to Luigi and Domenica Comboni who worked as cultivators for a wealthy local landlord. Together they formed an extended family rich in faith, values, but poor materially; Comboni soon recognized the need to raise funds for missions across Europe as part of this task.
Daniel Comboni is widely revered in northern Uganda where the missionaries he established are well established and highly esteemed. A Roman Catholic missionary and first Bishop of Central Africa, his name remains synonymous with excellence for those seeking religious guidance in that region.
His life story serves as an inspirational lesson to anyone with an interest in missions. He believed Africa to be the continent in need and dedicated all his energy toward fulfilling his goal.
Comboni was born to an agricultural worker family near Lake Garda in 1831 and developed a strong desire for greater horizons during his early life. Meeting Fr. Nicola Mazza of Verona proved a decisive turning point of his life; this experience gave him the desire and conviction that would propel him toward sharing what had shaped his religious and cultural lives at home with Africa.