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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

Sr. St. Martha (Mary Farley)

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Photograph "During the May Procession 1942"
from a St. Michael's publication, courtesy of
Ann Mcgough,


Sr. St. Martha

(A biographical sketch from a St. Michael's publication )
Contributed by Ann Mcgough, amcgough3@home.com

Born 5/11/1894 • Died 4/26/1967

On May 11, 1884 Terence and Mary Carr Farley had a daughter and named her Mary Farley.  Mary Farley was born in St. Vincent's Parish and went to school at St. Francis of Assisi in Germantown.  She entered the convent on January 8, 1920.  She received her First Vows August 7, 1922 and her final vows August 24, 1927.  She then became Sr. St. Martha.

Sr. St. Martha is probably better known than anyone in the history of St. Michael's Church or School.  There has never been anyone more popular at St. Mike's.  She was well remembered for more than 4 generations.

You could almost take a look at someone's ears and if they were a little longer than normal that person probably had Sr. St. Martha in the second grade at St. Michael's.  Sr. St. Martha had a habit (no pun intended) of getting a student's attention by grabbing them by the ear lobes.

There was a trivia question on one of the programs of a recent class Reunion that asked... "How many windows were in Sr. St. Martha's classroom - if you dared to look out?"

One story that Sr. St. Martha used to tell the nuns in the convent on 9th Street was one she used to tell about her father.  Before she became a nun she would ride the Wilson Line Ships from Philadelphia to Wilmington, Delaware.

She said that her father would tell her as she boarded the ships - "Daughter I don't mind you riding these ships but I must warn you to never get off those ships whenever they dock in Chester."  So where did she spend most of her life as a nun?  St. Michael's School in Chester, PA.

Sr. St. Martha came to St. Michael's Parish School as a novice in 1922.  She taught second grade there for 42 years until 1963.  She did not retire when she left here but rather went to teach at Ascension Parish School in Philadelphia on August 23, 1963.

She passed away April 26, 1967 and she is buried at Mt. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA.

Although she is no longer with us she will always be with us in spirit.






If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about individuals in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

2001 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 02/24/07