Missionaries Pg 3
Many Christian missionaries have gone to the poorest of the poor and to remote locations. Many missionaries preached Christ through helping people by giving medical services, hospitals, clinics and schools.
Ministering to the very sick and to the abandoned is ministering to Christ, himself.
(38) "When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? (39) When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?"...
"I say to you, what ever you did for one of these least....you did for me." MT 38-40
"Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who can do 'Nothing' for you" - Mother Teresa
Saint Daniele Comboni (15 March 1831 – 10 October 1881) was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop who served in the missions in Africa and was the founder of both the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus and the Comboni Missionary Sisters. Comboni studied under the Venerable Nicola Mazza in Verona where he became a multi-linguist and in 1849 vowed to join the missions in the African continent although this did not occur until 1857 when he travelled to Sudan. He continued to travel back and forth from his assignment to his native land in order to found his congregations and attend to other matters, and returned in 1870 for the First Vatican Council in Rome until its premature closing due to conflict.
Comboni attempted to draw attention across Europe to the plight of the people living in poor-stricken areas in the African continent and from 1865 until mid-1865 travelled across Europe to places such as London and Paris to collect funds for a project he started to tend to the poor and ill. His mission to Africa was strengthened with his appointment as a bishop in 1877 for it allowed him greater freedom to establish branches of his order in Khartoum and Cairo amongst other locations.
Daniele Comboni was born on 15 March 1831 at Limone sul Garda in Brescia to the poor gardeners (working for a local proprietor) Luigi Comboni and Domenica Pace as the fourth of eight children; he was the sole child to survive into adulthood.
At that time Limone was under the jurisdiction of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
At the age of twelve, he was sent to school in Verona on 20 February 1843 at the Religious Institute of Verona, founded by Nicola Mazza. It was there that he completed his studies in medicine and languages (he learnt French, English and Arabic) and prepared to become a priest. On 6 January 1849 he vowed that he would join the African missions, a desire he had held since 1846 after reading about the Japanese martyrs.
Comboni made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land from 29 September to 14 October 1855. In 1857 – with the blessing of his mother – he left for Africa along with five other missionaries, also former students of Mazza.
His mother gave him her blessing and said to him: "Go, Daniele, and may the Lord bless you". He departed on 8 September 1857 with Giovanni Beltrame, Alessandro dal Bosco, Francesco Oliboni, Angelo Melotto and Isidoro Zilli who hailed from Udine.
Miracles For Sainthood
The miracle required for Comboni to be beatified was investigated on a diocesan level in São Mateus from 10 December 1990 until 29 June 1992 before it received C.C.S. validation on 30 April 1993.
The miracle was the 25 December 1970 healing of the Afro-Brazilian child Maria Giuseppa Oliveira Paixão who underwent a stomach surgical procedure for an infection that grew worse over time. But their attention turned to Comboni's intercession and she was healed the next morning in a case that surprised the doctor.
The seven medical experts approved that science could not explain this cure on 9 June 1994 while six theologians agreed likewise on 22 November 1994 as did the C.C.S. members on 24 January 1995. John Paul II confirmed on 6 April 1995 that this healing was indeed a miracle and beatified Comboni in Saint Peter's Basilica on 17 March 1996.
The (second) miracle required for him to be sainted was investigated in Khartoum from 9 May to 28 May 2001 and received C.C.S. validation on 3 September 2001 before a medical panel approved it on 11 April 2002; the theologians followed suit on 6 September 2002 as did the C.C.S. on 15 October 2002. John Paul II confirmed this miracle on 20 December 2002 and scheduled the date for Comboni's canonization in a papal consistory held on 20 February 2003; the pope canonized Comboni in Saint Peter's Square on 5 October 2003.
The miracle in question was the healing of the Muslim mother Lubana Abdel Aziz (b. 1965) who – on 11 November 1997 – was admitted into a Khartoum hospital for a caesarean section; the hospital was one that the Comboni Missionary Sisters managed. The infant was born but the mother suffered from repeated bleeding and other serious problems and was on the point of death despite a blood transfusion. The doctors were pessimistic about her chances but the nuns began a novena to Comboni. The woman healed, despite the odds, on 13 November and was discharged from the hospital on 18 November.