Comboni Missionary Sisters: women consecrated to God for the mission ad gentes.
The legacy of the women of the Gospel is the same legacy that Comboni passed on to the group of women he gathered together and who today are known as Comboni Missionary Sisters, a name they (we) took on the 100th anniversary of their foundation (1872~ 1972).
In order to better understand what Comboni really thought when he founded this congregation, it might be useful to delve into the name that he first gave them, ‘Pie Madri della Nigrizia’. Nigrizia referred to the immense region comprising Black Africa. Madri meant Mothers. Pie identified the ‘Mystery of Pietas’ which these women were called to share with the people their spiritual children entrusted to their care. As a modern St. Paul, Comboni was familiar with the implications related to the ‘mystery of pietas’ about which the Apostle of the Gentiles writes in the First Letter to Timothy (cfr. I Tim 3:16).
These women have been called to first live in themselves, and then share with others, the immense benefits of God’s compassionate heart. And they have done it and still strive at doing it today hand in hand with the people who open the doors of their homes and of their hearts to them. In Africa, as in Europe; in Asia as in America.
During their recent General Chapter (September 2016) the Congregation of the Comboni Missionary Sisters embraced the commitment to be ”women of the Gospel” by searching for renewed ways to let encounters happen in the 21st century at all levels. Be it through advocacy where vital world decisions are made, or with migrants in search of hospitality. With the formation of leaders, or by sustaining life through the paths of care and education and always supporting the Gospel values of justice and reconciliation, solidarity and peace.
0n the footsteps of the holy man who saw in them the ”shield, strength and guarantee of the Missionary’s ministry” and in creative faithfulness to his legacy, the Comboni Missionary Sisters, alongside all the members of the great Comboni Family, are now spread out in four continents and know that life, life in abundance, : still the promise that awaits those who trust and risk the beauty of making encounters happen and grow into genuine interpersonal and affirming life-giving relationships.
As women of the Gospel, consecrated to God for the mission ad gentes, we express our particular charism in the following ways:
By sharing and announcing the Good News of the universal love of God in Jesus Christ to the people who do not yet know him, in particular to the poorest and the oppressed;
Encouraging the growth of the values of the Kingdom that we find already present in creation and in history;
By being “bridges between people”. That is between peoples, cultures and religions, between the excluded and those who exclude; by being women of dialogue and reconciliation;
By helping the local Churches to develop a missionary awareness, communicating to them the passion for evangelisation which cannot be separated from a commitment to justice and peace.
Comboni had a clear idea of the kind of person the missionary sister should be; he demanded that they be “women in love with Jesus Christ, forever walking the road of the mission in order to be sisters and companions on the journey of the least important ones”.
Today, united in this single ideal we form an exclusively missionary family. We come from 33 countries and we work in 30 countries on four continents. At the moment there are 1563 sisters. Our style of life, lived in multicultural communities, is already a proclamation of the good news and a sign of the Kingdom of God.