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August 23, 2017 — Fr. Martin Connell, SJ, spent three years in Tanzania from 2009 to 2012 as part of a team of Jesuits missioned to open a secondary school in Dodoma, Tanzania — St. Peter Claver High School, where he served as the first headmaster. Currently serving as a professor and rector at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Fr. Connell visits the school annually and posts updates about its progress on his blog, In the Crosshairs of Providence.
Fr. Connell started the blog to share with friends and family his life and ministry in Dodoma, and he continues it today, posting updates from the school and stories of its students, such as Brigiter, who wants to be an architect and is thankful for the education she’s able to receive at the Jesuit school. As a boarding school, St. Peter Claver High puts girls on equal footing with boys academically.
At the time of the opening of the school, Fr. Connell noted that “when girls return home from day schools, they’re expected to perform domestic duties while their brothers study. At the boarding school, they can devote themselves to their studies.” He’s proud to report that young women are among the best students as judged by their performance on national examinations.
The 500-acre campus includes two four-story dormitories housing 640 students each, a library, a church designed to accommodate the entire school, faculty housing and a multipurpose building. Fr. Connell also initiated several projects to help the school remain self-sufficient: a dairy, pork production project, a bakery and a bee-keeping project.
In addition to St. Peter Claver High, Jesuits from the Midwest helped open Loyola High School in Dar es Salaam in 1994 and Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu, Uganda, in 2010. To learn more about the USA Midwest Province Jesuits’ work in Eastern Africa, click here.