Sister Mary Martin, who was a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) for 60 years, died Sept. 5 at Holy Child Center in Rosemont. She was 86.
Born in Philadelphia, Sister Mary was one of 14 children of Josephine (Monaghan) and Lewis Martin. In 1945, she graduated from West Philadelphia High School and five years later she entered the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, professing her first vows in 1953 and her final vows in 1958. She became well-known by her religious name of Mother Mary Claudia.
Sister Mary began her ministry teaching at Holy Spirit School, Sharon Hill. She served there for one year before moving to New York City, where she taught at Our Lady of Lourdes from 1954-1960. She then taught in Oregon Catholic schools for nine years. In 1965, Sister Mary received her master’s degree in modern European history from the University of Portland.
In 1969 Sister Mary returned to Pennsylvania where she taught at Holy Child Academy, Sharon Hill. From 1970 to 1971 she worked at Philadelphia’s World Affairs Council arranging programs for high school students.
Her concern for the needy led her to teaching and counseling prisoners in Bucks and Delaware counties for four years. From 1975-1978, Sister Mary returned to teaching middle school students at St. Edward School in Philadelphia and Our Lady of Lourdes in New York City.
Following a one-year sabbatical in Rome, Italy, Sister Mary returned to the first school where she began her teaching ministry, Holy Spirit in Sharon Hill. She taught there from 1979-1984 before working in parish services at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Chester Heights.
She then devoted her time and energy to Senior Community Services in Darby, and later at Holy Child Center as driver and receptionist. Sister Mary’s concern for the poor and great sociability remained to the end.
Sister Mary’s funeral Mass was celebrated Sept. 7.
She is survived by one sister Barbara (Roger) Tourdot.
Memorial donations may be sent to the SHCJ Retirement Fund, 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA 19010.
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