Sr. COLOMBI, Francesca FDCC
高 修 女
1916 年 9
日在意大利 (Italy) 米蘭
Death of Mother Francesca Colombi
Of the Canossian Daughter of Charity
Mother Francesca Colombi passed away at Grantham Hospital, in 6 January 1990, a few days after the operation of her heart. That heart that had been so generously opened to others’ need throughout her life, was found to be exhausted, broken.. out of love! Her death was a shock to all, as she had displayed till after Christmas a full vitality, exceptional for her 74 years.
Francesca was born in Secugnago, a suburb of Pavia, Italy into a family rich in faith, generosity, honesty and hard work. In these virtues she grew and brought them already rooted within her when she joined the Canossian Sisters, whom she had frequented from her early years. Her vocation, however was a double one with a call to the distant lands; so in 1937 she joined the Novitiate for the Missions. Having pronounced her First Vows in 1940, she obtained a diploma in Nursing.
Her first missionary field was a military hospital at Potenza, South Italy. In spite if her youth, Superiors could rely on her, for her religious spirit, for her spirit of sacrifice and for her practical sense of life, virtues that were rally put to test during this period of the Second World War.
Rejoicing in the peace which followed and the joy of her Final Vows, in 1947, Sister Francesca left her home-land for the land of her election, China, going to Hankow, a mission that had been terribly tried by the war. The mission hospital she was assigned to, was an improvised one over the ruins of the bombed one; yet Sister Francesca’s missionary spirit was already trained to work and want; sacrifice was the portion she always elected for herself, leaving the best for others - ever altruistic to the extreme.
She loved her mission and would have remained courageously there, even when the Red Wave was coming down from the North, in 1949, had not the Superiors decided wisely to bring the young religious to safety. Sister Francesca was among the first to leave, reluctantly.
Hong Kong welcomed her. A young Sister, of good spirit, humble, submissive, sensible, intelligent, a peg ready to fit into any hole. At first she worked with the babies at Ling Yuet Sin, then with the fishermen in the Aberdeen dispensary, later as Superior at Shaukiwan, for two terms. The Simple. Humble and poor people of these surroundings soon discovered the gifts of her motherly heart and to her they would turn in every problem, confident of her wise help and advice; Whether it was for their squatters’ home under a development plan, or for their hawker’s license that had expired, or for an aging parent or a sick relative to be hospitalized, or a recommendation for a job, or their children’s schooling…Mother Francesca was their voice, the voice of the poor who have no vice. She was their legs and would go from office to office pleading for them, accompanying her painful steps with prayer… she was indeed the servant of the poor.
Even when Mother Francesca was transferred to other convents, as Vice-Superior at Canossa Hospital (1960-1965); at the Provincial House - Hong Kong (1967-1985); at St. Mary’s Kowloon (1985 to her death); the poor followed her with their requests for help, with their deep gratitude, often expressed in the form of fish, eggs, hens or vegetables. Mother Francesca would accept them as an answer from the Providence of God, to whom she prayed daily, asking for blessings on her poor.
As Vice Superior for many years, Mother Francesca was the “mother” who would see, and provide for the needs of each Sister and inmate, who would reach out to every nook and corner of the large buildings that everywhere would be clean, neat and functioning. From the kitchen to the garden, to the hose-repairs, to the servants… so active and serene she was - till after Christmas. There seemed to be no time for rest; she would almost feel a sense of guilt, a giving in to self, if she relaxed for a moment.
But God called His faithful servant to His eternal rest and the day He chose, the “Epiphany”, seems to speak of Mother Francesca’s manifestation of God’s light, love and goodness to the Gentiles. It speaks of the gold of her charity, of the incense of her prayer-life, of the myrrh of her self-sacrifice.
May Christ, our Saviors, be pleased with the offering of her life and reveal Himself to her in eternal glory and happiness!
She will be very much missed, not only by her fellow
Canossians but also by a wide group of admiring friends, young, and old, poor
19 January 1990
嘉 諾 撒 仁 愛 會 高 修 女 ， 於 一 九 九 ０ 年 一 月 六 日 在 葛 量 洪 醫 院 病 逝 ， 享 年 七 十 四 歲 。
高 修 女 在 一 九 一 六 年 生 於 意 大 利 ， 一 九 三 七 年 加 入 嘉 諾 撒 仁 愛 會 ， 一 九 四 六 年 宣 發 聖 願 。 由 於 戰 事 混 亂 ， 她 於 一 九 四 六 年 才 實 現 傳 教 的 願 望 ， 獲 派 往 中 國 漢 口 ， 至 一 九 四 九 年 內 陸 政 變 ， 才 被 調 回 香 港 工 作 共 四 十 載 。
高 修 女 曾 在 嘉 諾 撒 醫 院 、 凌 月 仙 會 院 、 香 港 仔
及 筲 箕 灣 區 服 務 ， 她 一 生 的 大 部 份 時 間 是 從 事 醫 療 工 作 、 探 訪 病 人 及 照 顧 貧 苦 大 眾 。 後 來 。
她 被 調 往 堅 道 聖 心 會 院 。 在 最 後 五 年 ， 被 派 往 聖 瑪 利 修 院 。 她 曾 被 委 任 為 院 長 及 承 擔 了 副 院
長 的 職 務 多 年 。
1990 年 1 月 19 日
◆ 先賢錄－－香港天主教神職及男女修會會士 (1841-2010), 天主教香港教區檔案處, 2010.
◆ 先賢錄－－香港天主教神職及男女修會會士 (1841-2016), 天主教香港教區檔案處, 2016.