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The Decisive Clue

After greeting the confrères, Fr. Guido and Fr. Alois boarded the car, left the mission of Lira in Uganda, and headed towards Karamoja. Suddenly, four Karimojong warriors armed with rifles sprang up from who-knows-where and ordered them to stop. They forced the missionaries to get out of the car and hand over their belongings. “Now you can go,” ordered the one who looked like their boss. Fr. Guido tried to start the car’s engine but, perhaps sharing the traveler’s fright, it refused to start.

Fr. Alois began to push the car. Unfortunately, at that point the road was uphill, so he turned to the bandits and asked for their help. They obliged. After some ‘coughs,’ the car started. Given their courtesy, Fr. Guido gained courage and ventured: “In that suitcase, there are our prayer books. They are in a language you don’t understand. Could you return them?” A bandit rummaged in the suitcase and handed to them the breviaries and some other books.

After a “thanks” and some half smiles, they left. Along the way, they checked the returned books. All of them were there; only the Rule of Life was missing. “It’s not worth going back to claim it; one never knows,” they concluded together, “it may happen that one day a Karimojong will request to become a Comboni Missionary. When the Master of Novices gives him the Rule of Life and he answers: ‘I already have it,’ then we will know that he was one of those bandits!”

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