Magazine
Laurie and Lowell Peterson live in Jackson, Missouri. Laurie is a childhood friend of Fr. Jonathan Haschka, SJ.
So it all fit: the educational aspect, the clear need in the Nyashana community, a staff and procedures in place to ensure that money provided will be spent wisely
Why We Support the Jesuits in Tanzania
By Laurie and Lowell Peterson

Fr. Jonathan Haschka, SJ, has been a close friend for many years (Laurie has known him since they were childhood classmates at Visitation School in Minneapolis) and has inspired us in many ways. During the 10 years he served at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Mwanza, Tanzania, Fr. Haschka corresponded with us about the challenges and the satisfaction he, and the other priests, encountered in serving this community. 

We decided many years ago that we wanted to emphasize Global South education in our charitable giving. Addressing today’s needs for adequate housing, medical care and nutrition is critical. But we also believe that education helps youth achieve their full potential, enabling them to make meaningful contributions to their society, giving them life skills necessary to craft local solutions to local problems.
Fr. Jonathan Haschka, SJ
Fr. Jonathan Haschka, SJ


So, we were thrilled when Fr. Haschka shared with us that St. Francis had established an outreach church and training center in Nyashana, a struggling community outside of Mwanza. Through his letters, Fr. Jonathan very subtly sold us on Nyashana, and we were honored to make some financial contributions to support his vital ministry. We were sure we’d get to visit him in Mwanza and maybe go sailing in the Seychelles, but he was sent back to the states to assume his current job as superior of the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Despite Jonathan’s absence, our desire to learn firsthand of the Jesuits’ work in Mwanza led us to make the trip last October. Father Jim Spillane, SJ, Business professor at St. Augustine University of Tanzania, and Dan O’Brien, regional director of advancement for the Midwest Jesuits, were very helpful in sharing what was happening at the parish and what we’d be able to witness during our four-day visit. 

Richard Ross, Fr. Aquinine Tarimo, SJ, Johanna Seles (kneeling, former director of Lubango Center), Fr. Jim Spillane, SJ, Lowell and Laurie Peterson, Sophia (new director of Lubango Center), Joan (kneeling), a volunteer and Florentine.  

Richard Ross, Fr. Aquinine Tarimo, SJ, Johanna Seles (kneeling, former director of Lubango Center), Fr. Jim Spillane, SJ, Lowell and Laurie Peterson, Sophia (new director of Lubango Center), Joan (kneeling), a volunteer and Florentine. 

   
We arrived to find a neat, well-constructed campus that is obviously the pride of the Nyashana community. The Lubango Center is made up of a kindergarten, a library to augment the lack of textbooks at the nearby school, a quiet reflection space, a women’s training center, a small business coffee shop, and a well-equipped playground for use by the school and community at large. All of these places were administered by a very competent staff led by Johanna Seles, director of the Lubango Center. 

After a tour of the grounds of the church and living areas, we also met with the St. Francis priests, Frs. Gaspar Sunwah and Tarimo and Fr. Spillane. The warmth of the three priests, the simplicity of their lives, and genuine caring for the flock and us were humbling.A major surprise, to us, was the size of the church and the parish, which we saw at the Swahili Mass on Sunday. 

Kindergarteners playing at the Lubango Center in Nyashana.  
Kindergarteners playing at the Lubango Center in Nyashana.
So it all fit: the educational aspect, the clear need in the Nyashana community, a staff and procedures in place to ensure that money provided will be spent wisely. It is our dream that in coming years graduates of the women’s training classes will be better able to support their families through the skills they have learned there. And perhaps a few years from now the school’s students will be young business professionals and political leaders making meaningful contributions in Nyashana, Mwanza, and Tanzania. 

We are thankful to have had the opportunity to see God’s grace in action. These folks are gentle warriors, indeed!


Return to Partners Index





Recent News

July 18, 2018 — After nine years of Jesuit formation, it is still clear to me that my Jesuit formation actually started with my parents. Even before I joined the Society of Jesus, my parents’ quiet and steadfast persistence in their work, family, and faith had modeled the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

July 17, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Walter "Wally" J. Stohrer, SJ, who was called to eternal life on July 14, 2018. Wally died at St. Camillus senior Jesuit healthcare community, in Wauwatosa, Wis. He was eighty-eight years old, a Jesuit for sixty-nine years, and a priest for fifty-six years.

July 16, 2018 — Father Peter Klink, SJ, has been nominated for this year’s Lumen Christi (Light of Christ) Award.

July 12, 2018 — “A Jesuit never retires, but their ministry changes as they age,” explains Fr. Robert Scullin, SJ, superior of the Colombiere Jesuit Community.

July 2, 2018 — Fr. Kyle Shinseki, SJ, celebrated his first public Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue, Kauai, on June 17.

June 22, 2018 — A passionate, committed leader is sought by the board of directors of Red Cloud to guide a wide range of institutional efforts to empower Oglala Lakota youth, families, and community members through culturally-relevant education, arts-based programming, and spiritual formation.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Spring 2018

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2017

Jesuits Summer 2017



Manresa Jesuit Retreat House
Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, located north of Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., offers retreatants a respite from the city on its 37–acre campus with almost 50,000 trees.