Throughout the NY Archdiocese, \"School's Out Forever\"

In today's New York Times, David Gonzalez offers a moving portrait of the closing of St. Martin of Tours, a Catholic elementary school in the Bronx, which has served the community for 86 years. He focuses particularly on the school's principal, Sister Nora McArt, who has worked with the children of St. Martin's for more than four decades.

St. Martin's is one of 26 schools in the Archdiocese of New York that will close this month. Most of these schools are in poor, urban areas. Gonzalez himself graduated from St. Martin's in the early 1970s. He writes:

Forget the cheap jokes about ruler-swinging nuns gliding through the aisles in full-length habits. For those of us who saw our neighborhood almost vanish in smoke from arson or crack pipes, Sister Nora stands as a reminder of the sacrifices made happily and gifts given freely by women religious. Through word and deed they taught us the works of mercy: to feed the poor, clothe the naked and educate the ignorant.

To comfort the afflicted.

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And now -- 40 years after I walked down the aisle clutching my diploma -- I returned to fulfill a final work of mercy: to bury the dead.

Read the full article on The New York Times Web site.

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