St. Martin to celebrate 90th anniversary

Blast from the past: Sarah McBride Genther (left) and Dolores Bentzel Kleinfelder (right) will be guests at a special Mass and luncheon on Oct. 25.

St. Martin of Tours School in Oxford Circle will celebrate 90 years of Catholic education with a Mass and luncheon on Sunday, Oct. 25. The Mass will be celebrated at noon at the church, followed by lunch in the gym of the school, at 5701 Loretto Ave.

The Regal Ballroom on Oxford Avenue is donating the lunch, so all proceeds will benefit a new art program for the students.

On Sept. 8, 1925, three IHM sisters opened the doors of the school to 71 students. By 1970, enrollment peaked at 2,749 students, the largest elementary school in the United States. Today, St. Martin of Tours School is part of Independence Mission Schools, a nonprofit foundation formed in 2012 in response to the threatened loss of inner-city parish schools. The school serves children of all faiths.

Among the guests at the luncheon will be Sarah McBride Genther and Dolores Bentzel Kleinfelder, who both graduated from St. Martin’s in the 1930s and attended John W Hallahan Catholic High School.

Dolores married her high school sweetheart shortly after graduating and has three children.

Sarah, on the other hand, attended St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Kensington and joined the U.S. Army at the onset of U.S. involvement in World War II in 1941. She married shortly after the war and has four children.

Sarah and Dolores’ most vivid memories of St. Martin of Tours School are the same. They cherish the IHM sisters and remember their love and dedication to all the children. St. Martin of Tours School carries on this legacy and has several IHM sisters still teaching at the school, including principal Sister Ellen Giardino.

Sarah’s advice to today’s children who attend St. Martin’s is to be grateful to God for their life no matter how many challenges they face. As her father once told her, “If you can get up in the morning, stand on your own two feet, open your eyes and walk around, then be grateful to God for today.”

For reservations, visit www.stmartinoftoursphila.org or call 215–535–2962, Ext. 424. ••