Tanzania Testing Day: A Child’s Chance to Escape Poverty and Danger, by Kevin Wells

Speaker Johnson’s Perilous Moment on Ukraine Has Finally Arrived, by Mike Lillis, by Mychael Schnell
April 13, 2024
FISA Reform Failed Because The Whole Point Of Section 702 Is To Spy On Americans, by John Daniel Davidson
April 13, 2024

Sister of Mary Maureen Antido, who graduated from Girlstown in the Philippines, greets a small child on a recruiting trip. (photo: The Sisters of Mary)

By Kevin Wells, EWTN News, April 12, 2024

Kevin Wells is a former Major League Baseball writer, Catholic speaker and author.


A passing grade is a sacred passport that allows passage into Boystown and Girlstown communities, where buildings rise from parched land like Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Sisters of Mary World Villages for Children is a nonprofit organization that financially supports the Sisters of Mary in their quest to help children break free from a life of poverty and trafficking and lead them to Christ and the Catholic faith. SOM-WVC provides food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, Catholic education and vocational training to more than 20,000 children in Boystowns and Girlstowns around the world. To donate to the Sisters of Mary, please visit:  WorldVillages.org/poverty.

Once a year in Tanzania, on its world-forgotten islands, unvisited mountainsides, and in jungles and brush with man-eating animals, the Sisters of Mary enter some of the most dangerous villages in Africa to recruit their incoming class.

This is testing day for Tanzania’s poor. When a white-habited nun escorts a child to a wobbly bench or old wooden chair, each youngster sees the sheet of paper that could change everything. The remainder of their lives hinges on how they will answer the multiple-choice questions before them, they’ve been told.

Because the nuns from the Sisters of Mary of Banneux, who number 383 sisters worldwide, know the weight and strain that hangs in the air, they make a point to speak tenderly to the young test-takers, a mix of pre-teens and 13- and 14-year-olds. It often happens that just as the students reach for their pencils, they’ll be distracted by the rumblings of their stomachs or clouds of mosquitoes. It’s a fraught moment: A single confusing question will often begin a twisting kaleidoscope of doubt. I am failing; I will not make it.

But if a child later hears his or her name called, they will often say it seemed God — not a nun from the Sisters of Mary — called and plucked them from a tomb in the manner of Jesus summoning Lazarus. …

Continue reading >>>>>>>>