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Parting ways

Stella Maris parents must find a new school for their children and will have the opportunity to sign up for two designated schools Tuesday.

By Amanda L. Snyder
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 57 | Posted Apr. 22, 2010

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Three Stella Maris students made the trek home from school Monday afternoon. This will be their final year there as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia officially announced its closure April 9 due to low enrollment.

Photo by Greg Bezanis

“I’m sad. I cried,” Stella Maris seventh-grader Jason Burris, of Sixth and Johnston streets, said following last Thursday’s dismissal.

Burris, 13, and his classmates were slated to graduate from Stella Maris next year. Instead, that final year has come early as they scurry to find a new school.

“I don’t know yet,” classmate Wence Vargas, 13, of Eighth and Bigler streets, said of which school he will attend.

“I’m really sad,” he added. “It really affected me. It really shocked me. I’m going to miss the teachers.”

While Vargas was one of the 69 registrants at the school who was scheduled to receive a refund since the announcement, some did not even bother to sign up, including seventh-grader Gary Carlile, 12, of Ninth and Johnston streets, whose mother registered him at Holy Spirit prior to the official closing of Stella Maris.

A mother of a third grader, who chose not to give her name, picked Holy Spirit, 1845 Hartranft St., for her daughter too.

“I registered at Holy Spirit, who has a lot more to offer than this school and the priest gets along with all the kids,” the resident of 11th Street and Oregon Avenue said.

However, Stella Maris will only provide a tuition subsidy to two of the neighborhood schools.

“Children who attend either Epiphany [of Our Lord, 1248 Jackson St.,] or St. Monica [1720 Ritner St.] will have a portion of their tuition paid through the generosity of their fellow parishioners at Stella Maris,” Donna Farrell, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said via e-mail. “The amount will help to bridge the gap between what the parent would be expected to pay and what it costs the receiving school to educate the child.”

However, the lack of a subsidy does not bother the third-grade mother, as Holy Spirit is about $30 cheaper a month already and provides busing, she said.

While the students are able to register at any school they wish with permission from Pastor Peter J. DiMaria, the two schools were chosen to prevent separating the current Stella Maris students as much as possible, Farrell said.

“It is to continue the sense of community for the parish, keeping the children together at fewer schools; for example, so that they come together for the Sacraments,” she said. “Often, it is only one school that is designated.”

Parents who have not yet registered their children will be able to do so Tuesday night at Stella Maris where parents will be able to sign up for one of the two designated schools, she added.

 

Although some parents and parishioners have pointed their fingers at DiMaria for the closure, he did propose that Stella Maris become the site of a regional school, Farrell said.

“The other parishes in the area were not ready to move to that model,” she said. “In a letter to parents, Father DiMaria said that he has requested and been assured that there will be no consideration for alternative use of the school buildings and property at this time. Stella Maris will continue to be part of the regional planning to ensure quality Catholic education in South Philadelphia.”

A meeting was planned for Feb. 18 to discuss options and the — at that time — possible closure, but it was soon cancelled due to a death in the vicar’s family. The archdiocese did not provide a reason for it not being rescheduled as of press time.

The third grade mother said, DiMaria chased a lot of parishioners out as fundraising options were declined and tuition was raised.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 57 of 57
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1. itsnotthe90sanymore said... on Apr 23, 2010 at 01:49PM

“Ok let's blame Fr. DiMaria for the closing of the school because that would be easy. The fact of the matter is that all the nuns and priests that went through that school were only out to take money not help students. Sister Elizabeth Lawrence was the biggest criminal around. She always took anything she could get from the St. Jude Shop (that was in the 90's) and favored only certain children/parents that would help her out. I can only image what she did/does now to get what she wants. As for all you parents, stop crying over something you cannot control. The school is closing-get over it and move on with your life. Parents should be focusing on their child's future. Its time to think outside the box. All the Aluminus need to stop living in the past. I understand that many of you alumnus have never been out of Philadelphia (Washington Township does not count) but its not the 80's or 90's anymore. Just because you went to Stella Maris does not mean your kids have to go there. ””

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2. itsnothe90sanymore said... on Apr 23, 2010 at 02:03PM

“My mistake above its Sister Elizabeth Lawrence, but to the students she is known as Sister Lawrence, at least thats what she liked to be called when I went to school. I can see her crying over this because she is loosing money for herself. As for the mother sending her child to Holy Spirit, how did she pull that one off? Holy spirit only caters to the packer park families. The mother must have known someone to get her child in that school, however; at least she is thinking of her child's future and Holy Spirit is a way better school than Stella Maris.”

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3. J. Swanson said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 08:59AM

“WOW you are one bitter person........I said I wasn't going to respond anymore to statements but I have to defend Sr. Lawrence. How dare you say things like that, she loves those kids. I worked with her for many years and that included being Treasurer for H&S, she NEVER touched anything for herself and all the money raised was put right back into the school and spent on things to better the school. Fans, new desks, science lab and a computer lab. She would spend weekends decorating the school and stenciling even the bathroom walls so it was a nice place for our kids. Every year she has a reunion for the kids graduating high school so they can come back to see the school and she can check on them and see how they are doing. How you can defend a priest who came to OUR parish with one thing on his agenda and talk to trash against a woman who puts her heart & soul into that school everyday is beyond me. You really need to get your facts straight!”

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4. lmitsos said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 09:33AM

“itsnothe90sanymore sounds like one of those parents that never know what was REALLY going on!! Do you know what the problem was with Sister Lawrence.....she was too kind to people like you! I too was the treasurer for many years at Stella Maris....NONE of this is true. This is the same nun who carried tables, chairs and lugged boxes at school events for the children because parents or people like you never had time. She was kind to people who started rumors and did nothing but gossip - like you. Learn the facts before you post your comments. She NEVER did any of what you mention! In fact - she spent her entire life around making that school nice for those kids. How dare you say those things aobut her. Why don't you find someone else to bully instead of a nun you fool!”

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5. lmitsos said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 09:46AM

“TO FOLLOW UP ON itsnothe90sanymore - WHY DON'T YOU SIGN YOUR NAME AND STOP HIDING BEHIND YOUR LIES!!!
SIGNED - LORETTA PANVINI AND THERESA MONROE -PAST HOME & SCHOOL OFFICERS.”

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6. Linda Amoroso said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 09:53AM

“I am a parent of two children who attended and completed Stella Maris School. Both are college educated, thanks to Stella Maris! My youngest son was schooled under Sr. Lawrence and I never felt that Sr. Lawrence discriminated, even though we never received any grants or scholarships. I had and continue to have the utmost faith and trust in Stella Maris and Sr. Lawrence both as christians and principal!

Unless Sr. Lawrence has made massive negative changes in the last 8 years, the above sounds like sour grapes!

Thank you, Sr. Lawrence, Sr. Williams and all of the educators past and present @ Stella Maris!

Personally, the Archdiocese needs to be responsible for all of the poor choices with their elementary schools and needs to support the Catholic families, both poor and middle class, as Jesus would.”

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7. Andrea Digneo Genzano said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 09:53AM

“itsnotthe90sanymore clearly doesn't read all of the information before making comments. First of all, the parents were encouraged to send their children to St. Monica's or Epiphany because then Stella Maris parish would subsidize their attendance with parish funds...just like if they were attending the school on Bigler Street. Do you even live in this area anymore? If you did you would know that children can go to any Catholic school they wish as long as their parents are willing to pay out of parish tuition. The schools that are remaining open have been advertising in the Review and putting flyers around the neighborhood in an effort to recruit. As for Sr. Lawrence stealing money...I have never heard anything more ridiculous in my life. Most principles stay in their schools for 6-8 years tops before moving on, but Sr. Lawrence was so invested in Stella Maris and the students that she has stayed on for much longer than that. Perhaps you should leave your bitterness in the 90s.”

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8. P. Fleming said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 10:04AM

“Well, 'itsnotthe90sanymore', you are one rude, ignorant person. I think you should probably give us some proof to backup your really obnoxious allegations against Sister Lawrence (and by the way, her name is Sister Lawrence Elizabeth!). As a non-parishioner of Stella Maris, I couldn't be happier that I sent my daughter to that school from pre-K through 8th grade. Sister Lawrence was the kindest, most honorable person I have ever met and as a person who helped out with many events both for the students and the parishioners, I worked with Sister first-hand. I think you are bitter about something. And even your statement about Holy Spirit catering only to Packer Park families, where's your evidence to back that one up? I personally know several children who attend Holy Spirit and do not live in Packer Park. Your unintelligent comments all the way around are your opinion only for some bittter reason and are totally unfounded.
Calling Sister Lawrence a criminal is laughable!”

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9. liz turchi said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 10:40AM

“Itsnotthe90sanymore.....you obviously have no clue! Sister Lawrence was the best thing that ever happened to Stella Maris...she was involved in all the kids lives and families...she is the most Christ-like and HONEST person I have ever met in my life. You are a coward- sign your name! And stop spreading rediculous lies.....it is the priests that ruined this school and their greed and power mongerring. Sister was in the classrooms and schools everyday all day....while Monsignor Connelly was on the golf course!


As for this article....I used to write for the South Philly Review...this article is an abomination to the field of journalism...it lacks depth, insight, and balance....and it is just INCOMPLETE! You should be ashamed of yourself that you couldn't get this article correct after TWO TRIES! And all the facts you were unable to verify at "PRESS TIME"..you had time since the last horrid article to collect your facts...no excuse.”

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10. lmitsos said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:00AM

“TO LIZ TURCHI - AMEN!!!!!!
You are so right about the articles - who did they talk too??? Did they even confirm anything they wrote?

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11. lmitsos said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:07AM

“where did that 90's person go???? Back to the planet on their spaceship??”

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12. lmitsos said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:07AM

“where did that 90's person go???? Back to the planet on their spaceship??”

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13. Lisa Dietrch said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:10AM

“To - itsnotthe90sanymore....you my sad little person, must be related to Fr. DiMaria. Or maybe got a little something, something for slamming the most honest, loving, caring person EVER to be associated with Stella Maris. As a matter of fact, I believe EVERYONE who has known Sister Lawrence can easily state the FACT that SHE WAS AND WILL ALWAYS BE THE HEART AND LIFEBLOOD of Stella Maris.

I am a parent of two children who graduated from here and was also part of the PTA, Secretary, and CYO. Sister Lawrence's only fault here was caring too much. Her only goal was the education and well being of the children at Stella Maris.

There are many reasons why this school has not been able to sustain itself, but it's not Sister Lawrence. Quite the opposite! She may be the ONLY reason why it has lasted this long! Shame on you "itsnotthe90sanymore" you certainly are a sad and lonely person and we will all pray for you....because that's what Sister Lawrence would want.”

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14. Anonymous said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 01:11PM

“Meanwhile I will pray for the rest of you! BECAUSE YOU ALL SHOULD BE ASHAMED!”

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15. Andrea Digneo Genzano said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 01:16PM

“Just so that I'm clear Anonymous (AKA...no guts to give his/her name)...what is it that we should all be ashamed of?”

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16. Jacquie Swanson said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 01:22PM

“Really anonymous you're the one who is obviously ashamed since you won't put your name........ Your point and opinion mean anything to us because obviously you don't believe in them yourself or you would be proud to put your name just like the rest of us.......”

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17. Anonymous said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 01:56PM

“No, I'm just not crazy like you!”

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18. liz turchi said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 02:02PM

“änonymous (aka) coward..... if you believe what you say then own it... and watch the baseless accusations, this is a published allegation of criminal activity...Sr. Lawrence should sue you for defamation of character....and I'd be glad to represent her.”

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19. Lisa Dietrch said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 03:02PM

“Well, Anonymous, let's all take a poll............. you have now resorted to calling everyone here "crazy" - it looks as though you do not know the meaning of being a good Christian so prayers from you mean nothing because your prayers are not sincere. So tell us, who are you and why such vehement statements? Could it be you are closer to the situation than you want anyone to know? Is this why you won't say who you are....some have their suspicions, which only goes to prove statements above (from everyone, but you) are ringing true. It's interesting that in all the comments posted, yours is the only negative against a truly Christian woman. Hmmmmm? I wonder why?”

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20. steph said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 04:09PM

“How can anyone say anything bad about Sister Lawrence. If anything she is TO NICE to everyone. Stella Maris would never have been the same without her. She did everything for the kids and school. How dare someone say she took money ,she would never, she gave to the kids and school. She is kind, sweet and dont derserve to be treated this way. itsnothe90sanymore - did u ever help out in school? seems like u didnt or u would know better.”

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21. Anonymous said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 04:19PM

“Its not the 90s anymore you have an opinion that is bad. Sister Lawerence is heart broken because Stella Maris has been a home to her. You have got some nerve to say she is sad because she is not getting anymore money. Like Jacquie and a lot of others said you are a bitter person. Do not blame the poor princeipal for the closing of this school. If it was up to Sister our school would not be this way. All of the facts point to Father. You probaly do not believe me but its true. If you went to mass the weekend that we got the letter father talked about fewer weddings, baptisms, and fuernals. What does that have to do with the school? Do not dare ever blame Sister. She is heartbroken. The school never even thought about this when Mrsg. was here. When he left the school had enough money to be open for 3 more years. Where is all of the money now? I think we know but if I have to explain go look at the palace and there is your answer!!”

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22. Fred said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 05:51PM

“The negative comments about Sister Lawrence are horrible. Sister has done an excellent job all these years. I was always happy with her when my kids were in school. Anonymous comment 21 raises the question about what the fewer baptisms and weddings have to do with the school.
I was at Mass when Father told us that. His point was there simply are not that many children in the parish anymore, that family life is not strong and that we are an elderly parish and that is why we have so many funerals. If you can't understand those plain facts I don't think you'll ever understand what is going on.”

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23. Patti said... on Apr 26, 2010 at 06:26PM

“I am the current treasurer of the Home and School and Sr. Lawrence has NEVER asked us for a penny nor even to look at the checkbook. You have no clue on what you are talking about? People are out of control and have lost their minds. Get a life!”

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24. lmitsos said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 07:32AM

“Hey Anonymous - the one who say's we should be ashamed - is your name Father D'Maria?????
PUT YOUR NAME YOU COWARD!
Anyone to say those things about Sister is a NUT!
Signed - Loretta Mitsos-Panvini”

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25. Mare said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:50AM

“The comments made about Sister Lawrence are absolutely horrible. She has been an excellent Principal. I have a daughter who attended Stella Maris School from Kindergarden through 5th grade, then went to a public school for 2 years, which was a big mistake on my part. Not only was she unhappy there but her grades dropped drastically. We met with Sister Lawrence and she met with her previous teachers and was accepted back into the school to complete 8th grade but had to work extra hard to be able to graduate with her original class, which she did. I will always be grateful to Sister Lawrence for helping her get back on the right track.”

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26. Danielle said said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 11:33AM

“People are forgetting who ruined this school. He came with a mission and unfortunately has conquered. The Arch Diocese should be ashamed of themselves for missing the point (or should I really say avoiding it). Sister Lawrence is wonderful. I am so sad that my daughter will not have the opportunity to spend more time with Sister and to learn from her. Greedyness has deprived our children from graduating from this school. Sister has done everything she could to try and save this school. People wonder where the money went. Its not far off, take a look at the Rectory. People should know the facts before they start talking s___! We can only hope and pray that the Archidiocese comes to their senses and re-opens the school with a real leader.”

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27. Jacquie Swanson said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 12:41PM

“AMEN Danielle !!! While we are on the subject of DiMaria, it also came to my attention that certain hymns are no longer allowed in our Church. Hymns like Be Not Afraid, Here I am Lord. Hymns that have been played in our Parish for YEARS..... and guess why these hymns are no longer allowed???? Because they were written by Jesuits !!!! Can you believe this? Aren't all priests representing Jesus? What difference does it make who wrote the hymn? This man is acting like Hitler........and he needs to GO.”

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28. Maria Cedrone said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 02:33PM

“This is to itsnotthe90sanymore. Where to begin so I will give you just a few words about Sister Lawrence,guiltless,blameless,trusting,loving,caring,extremely good,credible,christain,understanding,considerate,symathetic,charitable,gentle. Now I will give you a few words about your statement,evil,hateful, stupid, foolish, silly, idiotic, crazy,isane,unintelligant,dense,brainless,abtuse,moronic,absurd,laughable,asinine,irresponsible,dopey,ill-advised,hostil. I could go on. You are right about one thing it is not the 90's anymore it is 2010. Time to speak and think with some sense something in which you are very much lacking.

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29. Upset said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 02:49PM

“The Hymns are not the only thing that DiMaria changed in our church, after all he is the almighty and he really needs some people skills. As far as Sister Lawerence, she has always been such a kind and generous person and always put the children first, she was the school and ran it very well. The children always had special programs due to her efforts and the H&S. She really deserves a metal for having to deal with all the parents who thought they knew it all and think that thier child does not wrong. She had to keep peace and order in the school and please everyone. There may have been things that could have been done differently but it was also a lot of work handling some of these parents and their unruly childern. Believe me, I know first hand on how some of these parents react. Sister truly deserves praise.”

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30. LMITSOS said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 03:09PM

“TO EVERYONE READING THESE COMMENTS - let me be clear about the above regarding "anonymous" - Let me clear it up for the other coward sitting at their computer pointing out these comments to Father D'Maria. Of course I am not saying Father would say those things about Sister! What I am saying - and have said directly to Father D'Maria - it is my belief that OUR school could have been saved. The comments made about why our school REALLY closed are noted by the people who signed their names. The comments about greed and power - this is something I know He would say "we should be ashamed" to say and believe. So - coward - call me directly and I'll clear it up for you. This is bigger than just the school and sister and Father D'Maria - this is about our neighborhood! It's about not having an elementary school! It's about people saying we should be ashamed for telling the truth!”

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31. liz turchi said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 03:14PM

“wow "be not afraid"" played at the Cathedral for Cardinal Kroll's funeral..I attended when I was in gradeschool. It played there as well for Mrs. Connelly of the Connelly foundation....Di Maria really thinks who he is. A shame that one person can disgruntle an entire community the way he has...but then again the heirarchy is designed to give one MAN the power...the Catholic Church doesn't exactly run like a democracy... sadly for us Sr. Lawrence was not able to be our divine ruler because she is a nun and not a priest or else there'd be less gold outings and more involvment in the school children's lives.”

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32. Upset said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 04:03PM

““I must say that it is truly upsetting that Stella Maris School is closing and as far as I'm concerned, Father DiMaria is 90% to blame. He said two years ago when we had the very first meeting with him and he stund us with all his demands and that he does not need the school and that the school is what is bringing the church down. It was very upsetting to all the parents who attended that meeting and that was when many parents started pulling away from the school. He put way to many demands on us and just did not go about it the right way. He did not need to talk down to the parents the way that he did at that meeting or with his letters. He had no respect for us or our children so this is why no one can respect him as our Pastor. I who always go to church EVERY Sunday or Saturday have heard him talk about money so you can't say that he never did. I am anonymous cause my children still go to Stella Maris and I don't want them to be punished for what I am saying.””

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33. Upset said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 04:06PM

“I must say that it is truly upsetting that Stella Maris School is closing and as far as I'm concerned, Father DiMaria is 90% to blame. He said two years ago when we had the very first meeting with him and he stund us with all his demands and that he does not need the school and that the school is what is bringing the church down. It was very upsetting to all the parents who attended that meeting and that was when many parents started pulling away from the school. He put way to many demands on us and just did not go about it the right way. He did not need to talk down to the parents the way that he did at that meeting or with his letters. He had no respect for us or our children so this is why no one can respect him as our Pastor. I who always go to church EVERY Sunday or Saturday have heard him talk about money so you can't say that he never did. I am anonymous cause my children still go to Stella Maris and I don't want them to be punished for what I am saying.”

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34. Barbara Clark said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 04:14PM

“I have been a teacher at Stella Maris School for the past thirteen years. During those years, I have had the pleasure of working for Sister Lawrence. She is an absolute joy to work for and is always there for the children. I have learned so much about being a teacher from Sister Lawrence and respect her in every way. Her devotion, love, and faith is inspiring to me. During this difficult time, let our comments be made with grace and respect. All of us: students, teachers, principal, and parents are going through a very emotional time and do not need to read such bad things when we are surrounded by these things each day as we begin to pack away our memories. No one truly realizes the stress, tension, and emotional roller coaster we are on unless you are actually in our building each day. Thank you to all of the wonderful students that I had the chance to teach.... The dedicated parents who go the extra mile to help in our school and classrooms...”

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35. Mrs.Thompson said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 06:20PM

“As far as sister lawrence goes everyone needs to stop talking about her about because she is the only one who tryed to keep the school open ,and she is a very good nun.She is very good to all the kids and she does alot for them and the school. All the he say she say needs to stop about her and worry about saving our school for our kids. She is loved by alot of people and my kids love her and so do i .Now all of our kids have to go to a new school with all new kids and start over. They are used to the teachers and kids now they have to start all over and the teachers have to do the same. Its sad that my daughter have to cry all the time because of the school closing. So everyone please let try to do something to save our school.”

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36. Mrs.Thompson said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 06:30PM

“I really feel bad for the teacher they have to go look for jobs and its not easy. So give them a break because they are reading this stuff and they dont need this. Time is gone by and the more closer it get to the end of the year its gone to get worst for the teachers and kids and sister .What is sister gone to do without these kids.Its very sad so pray for everyone because everyone will have to depart there own ways so help save our school”

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37. Furious said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 08:42PM

“Excuse me Fred . I will always and still do understand what Father said. There was something else we could have done. Father just didnt want to!!!”

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38. Eileen said... on Apr 27, 2010 at 09:16PM

“I'm appalled at the lack of journalistic integrity in this article. Was Father DiMaria even contacted for comment? My grammar school news publication was more insightful, balanced & transparent than this.

For the record, schools are closing due to lack of enrollment. Enrollment is down because tuition is up. Tuition is up because we don't have the religious vocations to support schools they way they did 30 years ago. Back in the day the good sisters taught for a minimal stipend. Lay teachers (understandably) demand a much higher salary, with benefits, etc. It's a losing proposition, people. Don't blame Father DiMaria for something that isn't his fault. Yes, he might have been able to keep the school open for a year or maybe 3, 5, but it would not be sustainable especially in this economic climate. He had the wisdom and foresight to recognize that and not bankrupt the parish. It makes much more sense to keep the schools that are open full.

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39. Nicole Armando said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 08:30AM

“itsnotthe90sanymore obviously doesn't want to reveal their name because they don't want it linked to LIES! Sister Lawrence lives and breathes Stella Maris, it's her heart and soul. It sickens me to hear someone accuse her of such horrid things. Everything she does, she does with our children's best interest in mind. All the grants Stella Maris has been given for Smart Boards, White Boards, Computer/Science Labs, Books, Trips, & Assemblies were all applied for by Sister. All the money raised by Home & School for Technology, Lunch Tables/Chairs, and Teachers' Wist Lists, all supported by Sister Lawrence as well. These are all things that are children benefit from and made our school stand above the rest because of the love and care of Sister Lawrence. In being the former Treasurer of Home & School, I can confirm and back what Patti, the current Treasurer has said. "Sr. Lawrence has NEVER asked us for a penny nor even to look at the checkbook."”

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40. liz turchi said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 08:51AM

“Eileen, I agree with you partly,... but teachers salaries while (much higher than nuns not being paid at all) are still rediulcously low...Stella Maris is tax exempt! It need not pay taxes on real estate, profit etc. I doubt the property has any mortgage payments due each month. Outside of operating costs and salary, it has a better position than every other business in this country. Enrollment is down for many reasons not just a tuition hike. Yes it makes sense to keep the schools that are open full....but you miss the point that SMS could have been thee School that stayed open and was filled with other schools' kids. Di Maria sold us out in that fight. He acquiesced to having out school close! And his lack of respect in communicating this to the parents has been dispicable. Cowardly none the less, that he canceled and never rescheduled a meeting to properly and respectfully address the closing with the parents. He is a coward who hides behing his little cape.”

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41. Nicole Armando said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:15AM

“As Mrs. Clark has said, "During this difficult time, let our comments be made with grace and respect." This is a very sad time for many. I had to attend a meeting at Stella Maris last night in which the school families were registering their children at Epiphany & St. Monica's. I stood on one side of the hall as good friends of both my boys and myself stood on the other. Sad to say, we were divided and are parting ways. Unfortunately, this isn't the outcome we wanted, however, the situation was beyond control. Let us make the best of these next few weeks so that our children can leave with good memories and not so much negativity and hatred.”

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42. lmitsos said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:32AM

“To Eileen - I agree with you too on some of your points- so - the ones that should be ashamed then are the higher ups. Reason - then PISS everyone off at once - close the shools in the district and make a regional school and get it over with! Another neighborhood will be pissed off next year - and the year after. It's the way this thing went down THAT PISSES people off. It's funny how one of the wealthiest organizations in the world
is struggling because of the economic climate? What about the young familes trying to make it ? Soon - there will be no schools. No profit to be made there. No young children learning our religion - no future catholic church. This entire thing has made me questions my faith - the little I have left.”

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43. Mr.Thompson said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 01:16PM

““I must say that it is truly upsetting that Stella Maris School is closing and as far as I'm concerned, Father DiMaria is 90% to blame. He said two years ago when we had the very first meeting with him and he stund us with all his demands and that he does not need the school and that the school is what is bringing the church down. It was very upsetting to all the parents who attended that meeting and that was when many parents started pulling away from the school. He put way to many demands on us and just did not go about it the right way. He did not need to talk down to the parents the way that he did at that meeting or with his letters. He had no respect for us or our children so this is why no one can respect him as our Pastor.”

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44. John Jr. said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 04:06PM

“Why is Holy Spirit left out as a choice by the pastor for Stella Maris. Is he mad at Fr Calabro? or does he what holy spirit to close too?

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45. John Jr. said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 04:08PM

“Uncovered story? Craig’s List scam story again in South Philly, possible, as local Priest post ad for Sale of Convent real estate on Craig’s List under pressure to keep school open. The local Civic Association of Packer Park thinks priest is being scammed by flim flam bidder who will FLIP property at a profit.They have written to the Church and outreach to Neighborhood. The question being asked is how can a Priest lead without public disclosure be taken to the cleaners at expense of neighbors and supporters?? No clear answers from Father Calabro at Holy Spirit School and Church 1800 Hartranft Streets.

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46. chelsea said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 05:53PM

“Okay, I agree about the whole thing with sister. She has been so dedicated to the kids at Stella Maris. and for anyone who says other wise your crazy! Monsignor Connelly was the one who gave to craps about the school! he didn't care about anyone except his senior citizens.
As for stealing... I was student counsel treasure and sister never took any money. Our student counsel teacher never did anything we had one fun raiser and that was it. Sister would ask me every month when we went through the money book and ask why we weren't doing anything.
I told her we had all these ideas but the teacher wouldnt look at them. Sister herself pulled all the ideas and at the end of the year tried her best to help us with our fun raising and s.c. functions. And at the end of the year with the money lefted over we had a pizza party. no money was lefted for her to so called "steal".

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47. chelsea said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 06:04PM

“But i do have to agree with itsnotthe90sanymore on one thing. Sister did treat certain kids a lot better then others. Kids who's parents helped with home and school, lunch program or library she treated differently then the rest. And no one on this page can disagree because you all said you've helped sister so therefore your child/children were treated good. My parents have helped stella maris in many way but never with sister. mostly CYO and with Father tongue, I mean george. Sister NEVER talks to me, till this day, unless she needs something. In school I was not a bad kid I helped with a lot of things including sister and i always got treated a certain way. She was always nice but i never got the "special attention" like the kids who had parents on h/s board.
For one example we were only aloud to be on student counsel if we did not have a demerit for fighting. But for some reason the president of h/s child was aloud to run even though they had the most demerits for fighting... hmm?”

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48. chelsea said... on Apr 28, 2010 at 06:07PM

“and when i mean she never talks to me unless she needs something i mean to help her move a box. Or carry something to the basement. Or move those annoying cones in the parking lot back into place. (even though she was very kind for letting us use them!)
but for all the things i just said negative about her. The school as a whole she does gives her 100% dedicated and love to Stella Maris.”

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49. Barbara Ann said... on Apr 29, 2010 at 08:22AM

“I went to Stella Maris from 3rd to 8th grade. I am now 57 yrs. old. Although I'm not Catholic I have to write I have only fond memories (even those with scoldings involved) of this school & church. From Mother Maria Cecilia (Mother Superior), Monsignor McLaughlin through to when my now 32 yr old son attended I as well as he have a special place in our hearts for Our Lady The Star of the Sea. I don't know of any of these people you're writing about now and whatever is true or false I'm sorry to see this happen. One more piece of our pasts gone, futures of our children shuffled and the ending of an era that was one of the best times of my life! Lord bless them all past and present and I pray all of your children currently attending will find good schools and be richly blessed in their lives. Remember the good times everyone because we blink...and they're all over.”

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50. BARBARA CAPITANIO RUSSO said... on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:43AM

“The fact that the school is closing, is sad enough indeed. I went there as well as my children. But what is sadder yet is seeing someone slander a religious without documentation is worse. Let's act as if we are Christians and join together to raise decent children, no matter what school they go to.”

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51. Tracy Palamone said... on Apr 30, 2010 at 09:59AM

“I really take offense to anyone belittling or making negative comments towards Sister Lawrence. And "isnot the90sanymore" you have some nerve making those comments and not being man/woman enough to print your name. You must really have gotten "off" on creating such a stir. You probably live your life causing grief to others. That school has been open and successful for many years. Suddenly a new pastor is put in place and people start pulling their children out. Now obviously you are no rocket scientist but you figure it out. I don't think it's Sister that caused it!!! You should write a public apology to her. I wish she could find out who you are, sue you for slander, and use whatever money she makes from your pathetic ass to save our school. What people don't realize is that being a part of that school is being part of a huge family. Atleast that's how I always felt. Your pathetic lies are disgusting....you are ignorant!!!!”

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52. Tracy Palamone said... on Apr 30, 2010 at 10:05AM

“And for those of you who feel you that certain people are given special treatment. I disagree. I was never on the Home & School, never a lunch mother and never helped out in the library and my children and myself were treated no differently than anyone else. Anytime I have had a problem and gone to Sister Lawrence she has solved it for me. When my son was misbehaving in class and I brought it to her attention, she went to his classroom during class time to check on him and called to fill me in on the details. He never knew that I called her to ask her for this favor. Sometimes I think certain people just look for the special attention....I am not one of those people. All I want is for my kids to get a proper education and I have been very pleased with the education they have gotten at Stella Maris and I'm very sad to see the school closing.”

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53. Tracy Palamone said... on Apr 30, 2010 at 10:43AM

“I must say though that I am very disappointed in the Archdiocese. I know for a fact that many parents called to complain after the first meeting with Father DeMaria and they disregarded all of our concerns. I, myself, was told that he could do whatever he wanted. Well it's disgraceful that in 2 years someone could take over an establishment that has been running for years and years and run it right into the ground. Are they proud of him? Is this what he was supposed to do when he got here? I suspect that the closing of our school was no surprise to the Archidocese, atleast that's my opinion. I have lost alot of respect for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over the events of the past 2 years at Stella Maris. I think its shameful!”

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54. Jacquie Swanson said... on May 3, 2010 at 08:47AM

“AMEN TRACY!”

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55. Anonymous said... on Oct 13, 2010 at 01:54PM

“Whats up Toggy. You are still a loud mouth. Why don'y you get a life.”

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56. Anonymous said... on May 1, 2011 at 11:16PM

“I went there in the in the 90's and sister lawrence was a horrible person, she would always grip me and fellow classmates by our necks digging her nails in, i've had scratches and bruises from her, also i was bullied for some time and everytime i acted out against the bully she would make me look like i was blowing things out of proportion, just cause 2 of the students family members worked for the school. This was the worst school i've ever been too. even the 3 public schools i went to after stella maris had a better sense of justice”

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57. Anonymous said... on Jun 7, 2013 at 03:14PM

“Stella Maris was an amazing school. I am honored to have had the chance to receive the best education that anyone could ever dream about. Thank you Stella Maris”

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