By Amy Marinaro
Br. Joseph Gambino was raised in Poirino Torinese. When he was a young man, he was engaged to be married but ultimately broke off the engagement. Joseph was familiar with Don Bosco, whose ministry had led him to preach in Poirino, and Don Bosco’s Catholic Readings were read throughout Joseph’s hometown. Therefore, in 1877 Joseph visited Don Bosco at Valdocco and made the decision at age 30 to stay and begin his formation as a Salesian.
Don Bosco assigned Joseph as the manager of the shipping department for the Oratory bookstore. The bookstore sent out the popular Catholic Readings and Biblioteca della Gioventù (Library for Young People), which were used by many schools and homes in educating youths. Joseph did not limit his work only to managing the bookstore; he involved himself with all aspects of shipping from preparing packages to pushing carts of books to the post office and local bookstores. In 1876 when the Salesian Bulletin was created as a monthly communication to the Salesian Cooperators, Joseph was placed in charge of its distribution, too.
In 1880 Br. Gambino professed his perpetual vows as a Salesian coadjutor brother. In 1891, according to Fr. Michael Rua’s instruction, Br. Gambino was placed as representative of the Salesians to all companies related to the publishing of books. This included shipping companies, advertising firms, and publishing companies.
Bro. Gambino chose to spend his weekends teaching catechism on Sundays and overseeing recreation time for the Oratory youths. After a life of piety and service, Bro. Gambino passed away on January 12, 1919.
Based on the biography of Bro. Joseph Gambino included in Profiles of Thirty-Three Salesian Coadjutor Brothers by Fr. Eugene Ceria, SDB (New Rochelle: Salesiana, 2005), pp. 138-140.