|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
|See||Dar es Salaam (emeritus)|
Laurean Rugambwa (July 12, 1912 – December 8, 1997) was the first modern native African Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Dar es Salaam from 1968 to 1992, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1960.
Laurean Rugambwa was born to an aristocratic family in Bukongo, Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania), and baptized with his parents at age 8, on March 19, 1921. After studying at the Regional Grand Seminary of Katigondo in Uganda, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Burcardo Huwiler, MAfr, on December 12, 1943. Rugambwa then did missionary work in West Africa until 1949, when he went to Rome to study at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, from where he obtained his doctorate in canon law.
On December 13, 1951, Rugambwa was appointed Titular Bishop of Febiana and the first Apostolic Vicar of Lower Kagera. The youngest of Africa's bishops, he received his episcopal consecration on February 10, 1952 from Archbishop David Mathew, with Bishops Joseph Kiwanuka, MAfr, and Joseph Blomjous serving as co-consecrators. Upon his Apostolic Vicariate's elevation to a diocese on March 25, 1953, Rugambwa was named Bishop of Rutabo by Pope Pius XII. He was created Cardinal Priest of S. Francesco a Ripa by Pope John XXIII in the consistory of March 28, 1960, and thus became the first native African cardinal. On the following June 21, the diocese was renamed as Bukoba.
The progressive Rugambwa attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, and was active in implementing its reforms. He was one of the cardinal electors in the 1963 papal conclave that selected Pope Paul VI. Advanced to Archbishop of Dar es Salaam on December 19, 1968, he later participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Popes John Paul I and John Paul II respectively. The Cardinal, who had known Pope John Paul II from before his election, resigned as Dar es Salaam's archbishop on July 22, 1992, after twenty-three years of service, during which he founded the first Catholic hospital in Ukonga and a female Roman Catholic religious institute, the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi.
Rugambwa died in Dar es Salaam, at age 85. He is buried in the cathedral of Bukoba diocese, his remains having been transferred from a parish church in the Kagera Region. Upon his death he left Cardinals Raul Silva Henriquez and Franz König the two last surviving cardinals elevated by Pope John XXIII.
There is a possibility that Cardinal Rugambwa could eventually be beatified and canonized. It is well known that the Cardinal, who had enjoyed a good reputation during his life and after his death, was very close to many prominent and esteemed individuals in the Church, such as the Popes he served under.
- In 1961, the Cardinal received an honorary doctorate in laws from the University of Notre Dame.
- Before returning to Tanzania after the August 1978 conclave, he visited the United States, where he then received word of Pope John Paul I's death.
- TIME Magazine. Seven New Hats March 14, 1960
- TIME Magazine. Council of Renewal October 5, 1962
- TIME Magazine. Kudos June 9, 1961
- TIME Magazine. The September Pope October 9, 1978
|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Bukoba
Placidus Nkalanga, OSB
Edgard Maranta, OFM Cap
|Archbishop of Dar es Salaam