Thursday August 20, 2009

Alumnus Chosen to Lead Marianist Province

The Society of Mary has appointed the Rev. Martin Solma, S.M., a 1971 University of Dayton graduate, as provincial-elect of the Marianist Province of the United States.

The Rev. Manuel Cortés, S.M., superior general of the Marianists in Rome, has appointed the Rev. Martin Solma, S.M., provincial-elect of the Marianist Province of the United States. Martin will serve an initial term of five years beginning July 1, 2010. Martin, 61, grew up in Cleveland and has ministered in Eastern Africa since 1982.

"Father Martin brings many gifts to the Office of Provincial," said Cortés. "He has a deep sense of his vocation as a Marianist. He is a man of prayer. His long experience in Africa has sensitized him to the differences of culture and to the poor. It has also provided him a fertile field for understanding change and for faithfully developing Marianist life and apostolic action."

Over the next several months, Martin will work closely with current Provincial Stephen Glodek and other members of the Provincial Council to ensure a smooth transition.

"I am deeply grateful to the members of the Province who have written and promised their support and prayers. I look forward to serving the Province," Martin said.

Martin met the Marianists while attending St. Joseph High School (now Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School) in Cleveland. Upon graduation in 1966, Martin entered the Marianist novitiate at Marcy, N.Y. He professed first vows in 1967 at Marcy and perpetual vows in 1973 at Mount Saint John in Dayton. Martin was ordained in 1978 in Dayton.

He received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and English in 1971 from the University of Dayton and a master's degree in religious education in 1975 from Boston College. In 1979, Martin received a master of divinity degree from the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto.

Martin's ministry experiences have taken him from Kalamazoo to Kenya. He began his career teaching religious education and English at Msgr. John Hackett High School in Kalamazoo, Mich., from 1971-75, and at Purcell Marian High School in Cincinnati from 1979-82.

In 1982, Martin began more than 25 years of ministry in Eastern Africa serving as assistant novice director at the Marianist novitiate in Ekpoma, Nigeria. He became director of the Marianist novitiate in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985. Martin was appointed regional superior for the Marianists' Region of Eastern Africa in 1992, a position he held until 1998. He served five years as director of the Marianist scholasticate in Nairobi before being appointed to a three-year term as district superior of Eastern Africa in 2004.

Martin currently serves as director of the Marianist scholasticate and at Our Lady of Nazareth Primary School in Nairobi where he has been actively involved in the school's development for more than 13 years. OLN is a school for 1,800 children from the Mukuru kwa Njenga slums.

The Society of Mary, also known as the Marianists, is an international Catholic religious order of priests and brothers with more than 600 serving in the Province of the United States, which includes Ireland, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, India, Eastern Africa and Mexico. The Marianists sponsor three universities in the U.S. — the University of Dayton, St. Mary's University in San Antonio, and Chaminade University in Honolulu — as well as 18 high schools, eight parishes and several retreat centers.

Diane Guerra, national director of communications, at 314-808-2598 or dguerra@sm-usa.org.

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