Strillo The Profile of Comboni Missionaries
Bishop Daniel Comboni always showed love and concern for his missionaries. He gave them what we would now call "quality time", supported and encouraged them, defended them from false accusations. He would call them "children of the love of Christ" (S.2645); he praised their commitment, their prayer, their austerity, their zeal, spirit of sacrifice and fidelity (S.6988). The characteristic he stressed most often was their willingness to die for God and for souls; to be able to do so a Comboni Missionary had to be "holy and capable": avoiding sin, careful not to offend God, humble, but also burning with love (S.6655). The missionary of Central Africa had to be prepared to die without seeing the results of his/her work (S.2700), and ready to suffer anything for Jesus, even martyrdom (S.5683).
Two of Comboni's expressions are branded on the hearts and minds of Comboni missionaries and, in a certain sense, characterise them. Comboni wrote that a missionary must be like "lambs for the slaughter" (S.5683) and "hidden stones” (S.2701). To show, on the one hand, courage in facing any situation and adversity, without ever turning back; and on the other hand, show a clear awareness that the rebirth of Africa is God's work, and that the servant must show the greatest discretion, and believe and hope; talking to the people with the language of the heart, putting trust in people and believing firmly that the future of nations will be happy only if the poorest and most abandoned on earth become the main agents in their own liberation.