Born at Oletta (Corsica), July 18, 1821
Taking of the habit at Notre-Dame de l’Osier, December 24, 1842
Oblation at Marseilles, December 25, 1843 (no. 115)
Ordination to the priesthood at Marseilles, June 6, 1846
Died at Diano-Marina, November 7, 1905.
Ambroise Louis Tamburini was born at Oletta, diocese of Ajaccio, on July 18, 1821. During his time at the major seminary of Ajaccio he felt called to become an Oblate and left for Marseilles. The Founder wrote in his Diary entry of December 17, 1842: “Arrival of Brother Tamburini, sent by Father Moreau from the seminary of Ajaccio. He is an individual whom he recommends to me with the highest praise [...] This young man, writes Father Moreau, is worth twice his weight in gold when it is a question of piety or talents, etc.”
He began his novitiate at Notre-Dame de l’Osier on the following December 24 and made his oblation at Marseilles on December 25, 1843. He studied theology at the major seminary of Marseilles from 1844 to 1846 and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop de Mazenod on June 6, 1846. The Founder’s judgments of him are always expressed in terms of praise. In a November 1, 1843 letter to Father Étienne Semeria, he wrote: “I am happy to say, for the honour of your island [...] that I am extremely satisfied with Brother Tamburini.” (Letters to the Oblates of France, 1843-1849, Oblate Writings I, vol. 10, no. 821, p. 41) April 30, 1844 he wrote to Father Moreau that Tamburini “is always the same as you have known him to be.” (Letters to the Oblates of France, 1843-1849, Oblate Writings I, vol. 10, no. 838, p. 64) In July of 1844, Brother Tamburini was ill and spent some time at Saint-Louis, the bishopric’s summer house. They prayed their exercises of piety together.
In England (1846-1851)
A few days after his ordination, Father Tamburini received his obedience for Grace Dieu, in the county of Leicester, where he was second assistant and treasurer of the house. In the course of the summer of 1851, he alleged that he could no longer stand it in England and asked to return to France. The Founder wrote Father Casimir Aubert on July 20 telling him to allow Father Tamburini to leave because there would be need of him as professor at the major seminary of Fréjus the direction of which Bishop J. Wicart had just entrusted to the Oblates. Shortly after his arrival in Marseilles, Father Tamburini was instead earmarked for the missions of Ceylan, where, the Founder, upon explicit request of the Congregation of the Propaganda, had sent Oblates to the vicariate apostolic of Colombo. He communicated this to Father Semeria in a January 21, 1852 letter: “I think that Fr. Tamburini, whom I had recalled from England [...] will have no serious objection to make to me. He knows English perfectly [...] And you know his virtue.” (Letters to Ceylon and Africa, 1847-1860, Oblate Writings I, vol. 4, no. 26, p. 90) However, “Father Tamburini has given his health as a reason for not being able to accept my invitation. To make up his mind to go, an obedience according to the Rule would be necessary...” (Ibidem, no. 27, p. 93) “This time,” confided the Founder in a July 2, 1852 letter, “it must be said to his shame, Fr. Tamburini has shown a lack of courage.” (Ibidem, no. 30, p. 101)
In Corsica (1852-1863)
Father Tamburini was subsequently sent to Vico, first as a missionary, then from 1855 to 1863 as professor at the minor seminary that Bishop Casanelli d’Istria had opened in this Oblate house. In an October 2, 1855 letter to Father Tamburini, Bishop de Mazenod wrote of the importance of the formation given in the minor seminary and urged him to contribute an exact observance of the Holy Rules.
In Rome (1863-1869)
In the course of a trip to Rome at the end of 1862, Father Fabre, the Superior General, came to an agreement with the Pope on the question of opening an Oblate procurator’s office in Rome. The rescript from the Holy See giving permission for the erection of this office bears the date of February 20, 1863. On March 11 of that year, Father Fabre gave Father Tamburini an obedience appointing him first procurator of the Oblates in the Eternal City. Father Tamburini arrived in Rome March 19, soon to be followed by a lay brother and two students. Their first residence was in rented apartments at St. Brigid’s, but they changed their lodgings several times. After six years in Rome, Father Tamburini was relieved of his functions on September 10, 1869.
At Ajaccio and Vico (1869-1903)
Father Tamburini then returned to Vico where he preached parish missions with other priests. For several years, from 1878 to 1883, he taught Sacred Scripture and eloquence at the major seminary of Ajaccio. From 1883 to 1903, he once again took up residence at Vico where he was superior from 1893 to 1896. He did some preaching, was extraordinary confessor for religious sisters and was parish priest of Nesa, near Vico. On July 16, 1896, they solemnly celebrated his 50 years of priesthood. In a report submitted to the Superior General, Father Aristide Hamonic, the then superior of Vico, wrote: “Let us stand in admiration [...] of the zeal and good will of Rev. Fr. Tamburini who, in spite of his seventy-six years and his ever increasing infirmities (sciatica), never shirked because of weariness in performing the task of being parish priest of Nesa, winter and summer, in spite of the considerable distance to be travelled.”
During his last years, he wrote the work: Il trionfo dell’amor di Dio nell’opera della nostra redenzione published in Bastia in 1903 (358 pages). He also wrote the obituaries of Fathers Paul Pasqualini, Étienne Rolleri and Jean Joseph De Veronico (cf. Notices nécrologiques, vol. VII, p. 434-447).
At the time of the expulsions of 1903, the Oblates were compelled to leave Vico on May 3. Father Tamburini was sent to Diano Marina in Italy where he died at the age of 84 years on November 7, 1905.
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.
Sources and Bibliography
Oblate General Archives in Rome. Oblation formula, December 25, 1843; six letters to Bishop Henri Faraud (1864-1868); three letters to Father Cassien Augier (1889-1901); one letter to Father Fabre dated July 20, 1867. Il trionfo dell’Amor Dio:  manuscript of 531 pages.
Rapport du p. A. Hamonic, o.m.i., au supérieur général in Missions O.M.I., 1897, p. 269-323.
PHILIPPOT, Aristide, o.m.i., Conférence historique sur la maison de Rome (1825-1931) in Missions O.M.I., 1932, p. 677-699.