Born in Cesena, Italy in 1936, Bishop Biguzzi was ordained a Xaverian Missionary Priest in Parma in 1960. He obtained a Master’s degree in education at Marquette University, Milwaukee and worked at our house in Holliston MA. In 1967 he was sent to Sierra Leone and in 1987 was ordained the second Bishop of the Makeni Diocese by Blessed Pope John Paul II. As Bishop he increased evangelization efforts and celebrated the first diocesan Synod.
Bishop Biguzzi retired this year after serving 25 years at helm of the diocese. He has shepherded his flock through a horrendous civil war on to mediation, peace and reconciliation, and democratic elections and now looks forward to brighter future for his adopted country.
Bishop Biguzzi founded several Catholic schools and places of learning throughout his diocese, including the University of Makeni in 2011, the only university in north Sierra Leone. It will soon open a new School of Agriculture which will greatly benefit not only the people of Sierra Leone but the entire African continent. He also established a hospital and even a radio station, Radio Maria, which is heard throughout the country. But Bishop George maintains that people, not buildings, are his first priority, stating, “The best investment is in human beings.” He has mentored many young people in their professional development;
Bishop Biguzzi has known his share of pain and woe during the country’s civil war. He was kidnapped twice by the rebels and his home was looted and damaged on three separate occasions. His bishop’s ring, given to him by Blessed Pope John Paul II at his ordination, was stolen by the rebels but each time it was returned to him.
Nevertheless he won the respect of all the combatants including the rebels because of his wisdom and compassion. As a member of the influential Interreligious Council of Sierra Leone, he took part in the peace talks to bring an end to the conflict; and he continued to play a vital role in the process of healing and reconciliation. A major part of his work was in the rescue and rehabilitation of child soldiers. He was awarded the 1999 ‘Cuore Amico’ (Friendly Heart), the missionary “Nobel Prize” of the Roman Catholic Church in Italy.
Commenting on Sierra Leone now, Bishop George is happy with the interfaith dialog and respect for diversity that prevails. Muslims and Christians preserve good relations and share equally in all aspects of the economy. Bishop George looks back on his years in his adopted country and reflects that Africa is always in his heart.