Saint Daniel Comboni, from whom the Comboni Missionaries take their name, had a life marked by a passion for Africa. He was born at Limone, on Lake Garda in northern Italy on 15 March 1831 and died at Khartoum, Sudan on 10 October 1881. He was canonised on the 5th October 2003.
At a time when Africa was the place of great expeditions and explorations, St. aniel Comboni developed a love for Africa and Africans that would last all his life. In 1857 from Verona, where he had trained for priesthood, he went as a young missionary to Sudan. He returned to Europe several times, for health reasons, on vocation recruitment and for fund raising. He was entrusted with a vast mission that included the whole of Central Africa and in 1877 was named the first Bishop of Khartoum where he died just four years later.
St. Daniel Comboni soon realised that to ensure continuity to his mission to the vast African continent, he needed to form a group of priests, lay brothers and sisters. He started in 1867 in Verona by putting together a group of men - missionary priests and lay brothers
St. Daniel Comboni looked at Africa with faith and respect and saw potential where others saw only extreme and crippling poverty. He also designed a Plan where he saw Africans as architects of their own destiny. The kernel of the plan was to 'Save Africa through Africans’. The most profound aspect of Comboni's prophetic vision was in his understanding of martyrdom: he yearned to be so fully united with his Lord that he would willingly sacrifice his life for the Lord and for Africa; like the grain of wheat that would die and produce a harvest for the whole of Central Africa.