Jesuit Father Martin Connell, a member of the Chicago-Detroit Province, currently serves in Dodoma, Tanzania, where he is provincial assistant for education of the Eastern Africa Province and headmaster of the new Our Lady Queen of Peace Educational Centre and its St. Peter Claver High School.
While teaching at Loyola Marymount University, Fr. Connell was asked if he’d be willing to leave his post to open a new high school in Tanzania.
“Absolutely” was his answer. “My educational and work background, coupled with my desire to follow St. Ignatius’s principles of a universal Society and the virtue of availability to go where the needs are greatest, have led me to this place and time,” he explained.
The high school, which opened in January 2011, serves 140 boys and girls and includes a four-story dormitory with two wings that can house 640 students each. As a boarding school, it puts girls on equal footing with boys; otherwise, the girls would be expected to perform domestic duties upon returning home each day.
“It is no surprise to those who know the Jesuits that the Society believes in the transformative power of education—as a link between learning and a better future for students,” said Connell. “But education also empowers individuals to improve the lives of their fellow citizens. Here in Tanzania, we believe it will not only help improve our students’ and their community’s quality of life, but that it will support a more informed democracy and help Tanzanians diminish the poverty that many face every day.”