Akosua Report: Laurean Rugambwa

Laurean Rugambwa was the first native born African Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. (Google Images)

Laurean Rugambwa was the first native born African Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. (Google Images)

“We must be open-minded,” he said during the 70th session of the Second Vatican Council. ”In the missions, where separation is a fact of everyday life, we have to be ready to cooperate with non-Catholics in all possible ways.” – Laurean Rugambwa, the first native born African Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Laurean Rugambwa, the first native born African Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, was born in Bukongo, Tanganyika (now Tanzania) on July 12, 1912. After completing his philosophy and theology studies at Katigondo Seminary in Uganda, he was ordained a priest in 1943. Rugambwa did missionary work in West Africa until 1948 when he went to Rome to study at the Pontifical Urbaniana University where he earned his doctorate in canon law.

In 1952, he was ordained a bishop and on March 28, 1960 was elected the first African cardinal in church history. In 1969, Rugambwa was made Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania. He held that position until his retirement in 1992. During that time, he built the first Catholic hospital and founded a female religious order, the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. Rugambwa died December 8, 1997.

The Akosua Report: Facts on The African Diaspora, is written by Akosua Lowery. Follow her on Twitter @AkosuaLowery.

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