Saturday 29 April, 2023 was indeed an eventful day in Bagamoyo, Tanzania mainly because of the Silver Jubilee celebration of the existence of Marian Girls School built on the location of the former Marian freedom village and few meters from the Stella Maris Hotel, the venue of the two recent General Chapters (Bagamoyo I in 2012 and Bagamoyo II in 2021).
After the move from Zanzibar to the mainland through Bagamoyo in 1868 the Spiritan missionaries built Marian freedom village to provide a home and hope for the freed slaves. It is highly symbolic that more than a century later, in 1997, a girls school was built at the same location with the aim of bringing hope and emancipation through education to Bagamoyo girls (and later from other regions of Tanzania). Judging from the alumni, some of whom took part at the celebration, this aim has been largely attained. Marian girls has produced confident, capable and competent generations of women who serve at different capacities in both public and private sectors in Tanzania.
The highlights of the day were the marathon and voluntary walk in the morning of the event intended to raise funds for the construction of a health centre at Mlingotini, a very traditional Muslim village where a new Spiritan secondary school has just been opened. The Eucharist was presided over by His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, emeritus, who has been both a friend and school patron for many years. In his homily, he thanked and congratulated the Spiritans of the Province of Tanzania for the commendable work of providing quality education to girls. He likened this initiative with the garden in the book of Genesis where our ancestors in faith were given the responsibility of caring and developing it. Marian Girls School has given birth to other institutions, namely, Marian Pre&Primary School, Marian Boys High School, Saint Joseph Vocation Training Centre, Mlingotini Secondary School, Catering School and Marian University College (MARUCo). The Cardinal called for the spirit of collaboration because the work of caring and developing God’s garden is ongoing and immense. He appreciated the vision of the founder of the school, our confrere Fr. Valentine Bayo, who is actively involved in the management of Marian Institutions.