Born at Monticello d’Alba, in the province of Cuneo and the diocese of Alba, Italy, on March 27, 1935, John Asteggiano was the fourth of five children of a Catholic family, from which also a daughter, Renata, became a missionary sister in Bangladesh. After his primary education he entered the diocesan seminary of Alba, where he completed his philosophical and theological studies and was ordained priest on June 28, 1960. After six years of pastoral work in his diocese, he asked his bishop of Alba to be sent as a FD (volunteer priest) missionary to Kenya and worked in Marsabit Diocese with his confrères who had been accepted there by Bishop Cavallera. There he remained from 1966 until his death, totally dedicated to the service of the parish and tirelessly working for the development of primary and nursery schools in Marsabit District (he built dozens of them in that district). He was devoted to the Christian formation of catechumens, to the building of numerous outstations and churches, including Marsabit cathedral, and to aiding the poor, particularly those who could not afford to send their children to school. He died at Marsabit on November 20, 1993 and was buried in the cemetery of Macellai, Cuneo.
This article, received in 2005, was reprinted with permission from* Christianity among the Nomads: The Catholic Church in Northern Kenya*, by Paul Tablino, © copyright 2004 by St. Paul Communications / Daughters of St. Paul, Nairobi, Kenya.