The Society of Mary (Marianists) have appointed a Provincial-Elect of the United States Province. Rev. Manuel Cortés, SM, superior general of the Marianists in Rome, recently appointed Rev. Martin Solma, SM, as U.S. provincial-elect. During his tenure as Provincial, Solma will also serve as Chancellor of St. Mary’s University, replacing Brother Stephen Glodek, S.M.
Over the next several months, Solma will work closely with current Provincial Stephen Glodek and other members of the Provincial Council to ensure a smooth transition. Solma will serve an initial term of five years beginning July 1, 2010.
Solma grew up in Cleveland and has ministered in Eastern Africa since 1982. His long experience in Africa has sensitized him to the differences among cultures and to the poor. It has also provided him a fertile field for understanding change and for faithfully developing Marianist life and apostolic action.
Solma was ordained in 1978 in Dayton, Ohio. 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, Solma received a master of divinity degree from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto.
Solma’s experiences have taken him from Kalamazoo to Kenya, beginning as a teacher of religious education and English in high schools and 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. Solma 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.
Currently, Solma 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.
The Society of Mary (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. In the United States, the Marianists sponsor three universities (University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio; St. Mary’s University in San Antonio; and Chaminade University of Honolulu) as well as 18 high schools, eight parishes and several retreat centers. Blessed William Joseph Chaminade founded the Society of Mary in France in 1817. The order has had a presence in the United States since 1849, when the Marianists came to Cincinnati.