Mother Antonia Colombo was born in Italy, in Lecco, on 12 April 1935. She made her First Profession in 1959, in Contra di Missaglia (CO). In the same year she graduated in Law at the Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan. Subsequently, she also graduated in Applied Psychology at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).
From 1966 to 1989 she lived in the community of the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences "Auxilium" where she held positions of teaching and other responsibilities at religious and academic levels. She was Dean of the same Faculty from 1983 to 1989, the year in which she was appointed Superior of the Province "Suor Teresa Valsé Pantellini" based in Taranto.
A year later, during the XIX General Chapter, she was elected Visiting Councilor and, in 1996 at the next Chapter, she was elected Mother General on the first ballot - a task to which she was confirmed during the XXI General Chapter.
In her 12 years at the head of the Institute she traveled thousands of kilometers to animate the communities and took on the great task of fulfilling "the prophecy of the whole."
In her magisterium she particularly emphasized the culture of life and the promotion of the young woman in her dignity. She knew and was able to foster the commitment to active citizenship, encouraged the educating communities to be laboratories of life and educational relationships, supported the importance of educating to solidarity and of peace rooted in the values of the Gospel.
She witnessed the radical nature of following Jesus, the center of her life.
Her particular sensitivity to women's problems led her to promote numerous initiatives and to establish relations of study and friendship with religious and lay people interested in women and their education, and to welcome the exhortations of the Church and the Pope on the issue of women.
In 2008, her service at the central level of the Institute completed, in the following years, despite various and recurrent health problems, she collaborated in the revision of the biographical profiles of the deceased sisters, willingly devoted herself to reading and intensified prayer.
"Humanizing culture and relationships in the light of the message of Jesus and the Salesian charism was not a slogan for Mother Antonia, but a precise commitment that identifies her mission as a Mother and formative guide," Mother Yvonne Reungoat, who succeeded her as head of the Institute, wrote today.
The funeral will be celebrated on July 3rd at 12.00 in Milan at the Salesian Parish "Sant’Agostino". The body will be buried in the cemetery of Nizza Monferrato.