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Traces of Blessed Giuseppe Ambrosoli’s Saintliness

I first saw very much in passing, Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli in 1973. At that time, I had already joined the Seminary of the Apostles of Jesus in Moroto Diocese earlier in 1971. I got to know more of the servant of God and now venerable Giuseppe Ambrosoli, missionary priest and medical doctor of the Order of Saint Daniel Comboni in the course of my work as adjunct notary and vice Postulator of the Cause of his beatification. The following lines bear information I got to know in the above-mentioned capacities.

In writing this article, I chose to trace those factors that characterized Blessed Giuseppe Ambrosoli as a holy person. The faith-filled receptacle of Giuseppe Ambrosoli’s infancy was foundational. Giuseppe was born and lived in an ambient of faith, love and hope in God. He would later receive the Holy Spirit that enabled him to bear fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control that were thoroughly investigated and proven in the cause of his beatification.

The process of beatification began in 1999. About 90 eye witnesses were interrogated both in Uganda and in Italy. In 2001, the Diocesan Process was concluded in Gulu and on May 7th 2004, the juridical value of the materials collected was confirmed. In 2009, preparation of the Positio began and concluded in December 2014. Then the Positio was submitted for critical study by the experts in Rome and in December 2015, the study concluded that the servant of God Giuseppe Ambrosoli lived the theological virtues of Faith, Love and Hope; the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude in heroic way.

Similarly, he perfectly practiced the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience perfectly well according to the Order of the Comboni Missionaries. Meanwhile, the fame of Giuseppe’s sanctity spread wide and far that many were increasingly praying for his intervention. In June 2019, a miracle attributed to his intervention was approved and in December, the remains of Giuseppe Ambrosoli was exhumed to pave way to this month’s beatification.


Giuseppe Ambrosoli was born on 25th July, 1923 in Ronago’s small community of the province of Como to Giovanni Battista Ambrosoli and Valli Palmira. Both parents came from families of some distinguished repute in the Lombardy of the last century. Four days after his birth in July of the same 1923, the Parish priest Rev Father Carlo Verga baptized Giuseppe Ambrosoli. Six years later at the age of 7, he received first Holy Communion and at the age of 11 on January 7th 1933, he was confirmed by Monsignor Alessandro Macchi of Como.

These foundational events of the holy life of the now venerable Giuseppe Ambrosoli are attributed to his parents and priests. The mother of Giuseppe Ambrosoli especially made sure that the little Giuseppe and all of her children grew up in perfect health and faithful to God. Here is her request to the Comboni Missionaries who she often visited and with gifts for their missions: “… pray for my children that they may grow well in the fear of the Lord.” Whenever she presented her gifts to them, she asked for this particular gift the Holy Spirit – The fear of the Lord. As the saying in Proverbs 1:7 goes, “the fear of the

Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” Giuseppe grew up in the fear of the Lord. He also grew in wisdom, another gift of the Holy Spirit. These would remain his attributes throughout his life right from his middle school in 1935.


After the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation, Giuseppe began school on his own, seeing that his Mother Palmira reasoned with him: “Do you see that your father works so hard daily to keep us and all our dependents well in life? Yours is to go to school. Remember that schooling and commitment to studies are your works. You must take them up in your life with joy and commitment.” Palmira was ever attentive to the process of her children’s growth in body and spirit.

As an educator, she knew that every thing she did consciously and unconsciously impacted on her child. She tenderly held all her children by their hands, walked them to Church and knelt down to say personal prayers. Palmira prayed that her children receive love, joy and peace, the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Actually, these are attributes of a person living in the Holy Spirit of God. For Giuseppe, love was the foundation on which all rested.

As a grown-up, Giuseppe not only appreciated all that his parents gave him for life. He responsibly took his mother’s counsel to commit to schooling with joy. The subject matter of schooling to which he committed with joy was love. He needed models of love and joy. So, he joined the “cenacle”. The name cenacle evokes words and gestures suffused in sacredness and mystery that I can think of explaining it better by referring to its evangelical context: “You call me Teacher and Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I your Lord and teacher washed

your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (Jn 13: 13-14). This is what the adult Giuseppe Ambrosoli discovered Fr. Silvio Riva expounding to committed youths of his parish in the “cenacle”. In the cenacle of the Catholic Action Movement of Italy (1867) of his time, Giuseppe Ambrosoli went back deeper to the “Imitation of Christ” (1418-1422) of Thomas a Kempis, a German Dutch canon regular. G. Ambrosoli read Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ thoroughly in its original Latin language and lived it his own way. He wrote this to his mother in 1950 when in England’s prestigious School of Tropical Medicine and having made up his mind to become a Comboni Missionary: “God is Love. There is a neighbour who suffers and I am his servant.” Here, the young Giuseppe defined his program of life.

In Father Giuseppe Ambrosoli’s life time, every single experience was a spiritual opportunity in the purpose of God. Be it success, failure, challenge, illness, peace, conflict and war. He valued each of it greatly. He did not take anything for granted. In fact, when he became too sick to do as much as he did before in the hospital, he immediately saw that God wanted him to do otherwise. He thus befriended St. Charles de Foucauld to learn that when illness does not allow you to do work in the hospital, you pray.


In conclusion, by rite of beatification, the Roman Catholic and Eastern Churches assure us and proclaim that the blessed is in heaven (Kingdom of God) having perfectly attained what the Gospel of Jesus Christ commanded. Also, that the blessed can plead with God for you when you ask him or her in prayer.

Today, the Catholic Church assures and proclaims tha Giuseppe Ambrosoli is in Heaven and that we can pray to God through him to obtain the Graces we need.

Fr. Joseph Okumu

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