The Comboni Missionaries were born from the heart of St. Daniel Comboni. He was born in Italy in 1831. At an early age he felt a strong call to the priesthood and to take the Gospel to Africa.
Africa was a continent not yet fully explored in those days, and a place where Christianity was not well known. St. Daniel led priests and lay people from different European countries to areas of Africa yet to be mapped. He founded two institutions of men and women to attend to the needs of the Africans of his time. But, above all, he dreamed of Africans being missionaries of their own people. His motto was “to save Africa with Africa”.
Now, more than 150 years later, the Comboni Missionaries are present in about 40 countries worldwide. We go to places of first evangelization – to people who have never heard about Jesus Christ and His teachings – to establish Christian communities so they can pray, learn, and practice the Word of God together. Our commitment is to people who are deprived of their basic human rights to freedom, faith, health, education, a way to earn a living, and the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and the people they love.
Comboni Missionary priests and brothers believe God’s call to mission is as strong today as it was 2,000 years ago when Jesus told His apostles, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). We live a vowed life and dedicate ourselves to taking the Gospel to the poorest and most abandoned wherever they are, no matter how dire their circumstances. Jesus advocated for the poor, blessed them, listened to them, and loved them “even unto death”. We, as Comboni Missionaries, strive to do the same.
We learn from the people we serve and act as a bridge between the mission church and our own churches at home, sharing our experiences of other cultures, languages, traditions, and the situations that are encountered by the poor in developing countries.
Our focus is pastoral work among African Americans and Hispanics, adapting our ministries to the needs of the times. Together with our Comboni sisters, lay missionaries, supporters, and collaborators we form the Comboni Family. Our gifts and talents – and limitations – vary greatly, but we remain united in the common goal to bring compassion and love to God’s people.
St. Daniel’s Plan, laid out in 1864, is still working. Today, African priests and sisters serve in African parishes. So successful was St. Daniel’s Plan that priests and sisters born and bred in Africa are now missionaries in other continents – Europe, the Americas and Asia.