Wednesday, February 15, 2023
A Witness to the Gospel of Charity: A Life of Blessed Joseph Ambrosoli by Father Aurelio Boscaini traces the story of Blessed Joseph’s life, from his birth in Ronago in Northern Italy on July 25th 1923, to his training as a doctor and surgeon in Milan, to his becoming a Comboni Missionary Priest, to his founding a three-hundred bed General Hospital and adjacent Midwifery School in Kalongo in Northern Uganda, to his untimely death for want of medical treatment in Lira on March 27th 1987 and through the long journey to his being declared ‘Blessed’ in Kalongo on November 20th 2022. [See attachment]
A Witness to the Gospel of Charity
A Life of Blessed Joseph Ambrosoli
by Fr. Aurelio Boscaini
The Beatification of the Comboni Missionary doctor and priest, Joseph Ambrosoli, is a wonderful blessing not only for the Archdiocese of Gulu in Northern Uganda, where he spent his life as a missionary, but also for Africa, the continent he so deeply loved. It is also a grace for the whole Church throughout the world.
Blessed Joseph was outstanding in many ways: in his work as a doctor and surgeon; in his selfless dedication to the sick and the injured; in his passionate commitment to pregnant women and those who were nursing infants; and in the holiness of his life. From when he first qualified as a doctor, Joseph described his project of life with the following words: “I must try to re-live in me the Master in the way he cured the sick when they came to Him … May they always see Jesus in me”. Later in his missionary life, his catchphrase became “God is love and I am His servant for those who are suffering”.
Father Joseph lived the values of the Gospel and strove to model himself on the life of Christ in serving all, without exception. And notwithstanding his great talents and his reputation as one of the best doctors in Uganda, he remained a simple and humble man. A Witness to the Gospel of Charity: A Life of Blessed Joseph Ambrosoli by Father Aurelio Boscaini traces the story of Blessed Joseph’s life, from his birth in Ronago in Northern Italy on July 25th 1923, to his training as a doctor and surgeon in Milan, to his becoming a Comboni Missionary Priest, to his founding a three-hundred bed General Hospital and adjacent Midwifery School in Kalongo in Northern Uganda, to his untimely death for want of medical treatment in Lira on March 27th 1987 and through the long journey to his being declared ‘Blessed’ in Kalongo on November 20th 2022.
I was appointed to Gulu as Archbishop in January 1999, twelve years after the death of Blessed Joseph Ambrosoli, and on pastoral visits around my new Diocese, I heard many first-hand accounts of his great competence, unfailing kindness and genuine holiness. Everyone I met spoke highly of him and I was left in no doubt that ‘Ajwaka Madit’ (‘The Great Healer’), as people referred to Father Joseph, had been a very special person indeed. When I began to receive petitions from the Faithful of the Diocese to have Father Ambrosoli officially recognised as a Saint in the Church, I agreed to open the ‘Cause of Canonisation’ which I am delighted to say has now reached the penultimate stage with his recent Beatification. The lengthy Diocesan Enquiry in Gulu confirmed what I had been led to believe: that Blessed Joseph Ambrosoli not only heard the Good News but also put the Gospel into practice in his daily life in a truly extraordinary way. When, as a Bishop, I ordain a Deacon, handing him the ‘Book of the Gospels’, I tell him: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach”. Blessed Joseph put these words into practice, living the Gospel day after day, often in the most difficult of circumstances, following the example of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
When the Holy Father proclaims an individual ‘Blessed’, it is not just because of the evident and outstanding sanctity of the person so honoured, it is because he believes that the new Saint has a special relevance to us today. Saint Paul says that Christ is “the love of God made visible”: The newly-beatified Saint is a special manifestation to us, here and now, in the world of today, of the love that God has for all his children and how he wishes us, each one of us, to make that love ever more present in our world. As you read over the following pages, I am sure you will discover that Blessed Joseph Ambrosoli provides an inspiration to all of us to imitate Christ, the God-made-man, ever more faithfully in our ordinary everyday lives. He is a gift, a precious gift, that God gives to his People through the Church. My heartfelt wish is that all who come to know the life and person of Blessed Joseph through these pages may learn to love, as he loved, for he truly reflected the love of Christ in all that he said and did.
Archbishop John Baptist Odama
Padre Giuseppe Ambrosoli – Un testimone del vangelo della carità
Rome: Missionari Comboniani, 2022
Translated by Father Martin Devenish mccj
A Witness to the Gospel of Charity – A Life of Blessed Joseph Ambrosoli – Doctor and Priest
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