Proud of Our Students

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At Martin Saints, we aspire to be a family of families. When St. Paul says that in the Church we are members of one another (Romans 12:5), who bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2), we think "yes! That's the kind of Catholic community we want to build." You can see it in the art project pictured above: each student drew a section, and together it's beautiful and coherent.

As our school year draws to a close, it's time to shout a hearty "congratulations" to several students who have recently achieved a few milestones. St. Paul also says "rejoice with those who rejoice!" (Romans 12:15)

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Anna Grace Williams, Max Post, and Thomas Buentello all scored high honors on the National Latin Exam. Dr. Erika Harnett is the proud magistra.

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Grace Oberdorf, Julia Finegan, and Pia Buentello have all been admitted to the Summer Scholars Program at Eastern University's Templeton Honors College. Grace is also our newly-elected student council president. Julia has also been admitted to Princeton University's summer Witherspoon Institute for high schoolers. Pia's application essay to Templeton earned her a scholarship. Wow!

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There's Grace again, this time with her parents Maggie and Jay and her brother/their son Stephen Oberdorf. They're beaming because they're attending a Boy Scout Court of Honor where Stephen has just become an Eagle Scout.

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The Rawson twins - Sebastian on the left; Evelina on the far right - are members of the Whitemarsh Boat Club. That's putting it mildly. Pictured is Evelina last weekend, winning a silver medal at the national under-17 rowing championships. Her goal is the Olympics and she already has more medals than we can count. Sebastian just started rowing in September, but he's already winning medals in the novice leagues.

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On the left, that's Faith Dickerson, who just won a scholarship to the Summer Business Institute of the Catholic University of America. We're not surprised. She's always got an entrepreneurial plan for her knitting and other crafts at every flea market and fundraiser. And on the right, in the far right corner, there's Faith again. Just so you know: we have a volleyball team, and they rock.

In case it isn't clear yet, we love our students. They are beautiful, impressive people. Sometimes people ask: at a small school, how do students have extracurricular actvities? Answer: they have gumption. We help make introductions sometimes, and we can help new students find their place. Our kids run cross country, sail with the Sea Cadets, train with the National Canoe Safety Patrol, join 4-H, swim competitively, train with rugby clubs, dance ballet, play in symphonies, compete in gymnastics, have internships at radio stations, sing in choirs, travel with opera name it. We're ready to support it and facilitate it.

There are many more things going on at Martin Saints, many more stories we'd like to tell you - some of them about invisible things, things happening quietly in the heart. For now, count on one more end-of-year joy email - stay tuned for next week's installment!

Summer Enrichment at Martin Saints

Martin Saints Classical High School is pleased to offer the following enrichment opportunities this summer. All classes are open to rising freshman through rising seniors. Class sizes are limited. Sign up early.

Traditional Woodworking

Mr. Rob Post, the Martin Saints woodworking teacher, will offer a class on traditional woodworking July 15-19, from 9am to 3:30pm. Each student will build their own bench. Cost: $350, tools and materials included. Contact Mr. Post at or 267-326-2846.

Music Lessons

Mr. Sean Wood, the Martin Saints music teacher, will offer weekly music lessons over the summer at Martin Saints for students looking to learn an instrument or increase their musical skills. He is experienced in teaching piano, violin, voice, guitar, composition, and music theory. His rate is $50 per hour lesson, $40 for 45 minutes, and $30 for half an hour, plus a $20 one-time materials fee. A minimum commitment to six lessons is required. Scheduling is flexible and can be worked around vacations and other summer activities as needed. Contact Mr. Wood at for more information.


Mrs. Rosie Wood, the Martin Saints sewing teacher, will offer two classes, both on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from July 15 to August 9. Sewing Machine Basics is from 9am to noon. This class is perfect for beginners. You will learn sewing machine basics and create your own bucket bag. Cost: $350, materials included. The Create Custom Clothing class is from 1:30pm to 3:30pm and requires basic familiarity with a sewing machine. Cost: $425, materials included. Contact Mrs. Wood at or 773-573-2006.

English Grammar Workshop

Mrs. Shannon Bucko will offer a grammar class where students will improve writing skills, learn quick and easy tips for frequent errors and common standardized test questions, and gain a greater understanding of the English language. This one-day class will be held Wednesday, August 21 from 9:30am to 2:30pm. Cost: $100. For more information, contact

Transcendent Life is Real

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At a classical school like Martin Saints, we talk a lot about the good, the true, and the beautiful. Why? Because the three transcendentals are REAL.

The world sometimes tempts us to be dull, cynical, or sluggish. We hear "it's all a matter of opinion" or "art means whatever you think it means," as if truth were relative, as if beauty were entirely a matter of opinion.

But that's a lie, shortchanging us on the depth and glory of life. Here's the truth: there really is something greater and more beautiful out there, something bigger than us, something holy.

When we open our hearts and train our souls so that we're able to perceive the transcendent - which is the point of a classical education - something in us changes. The true, the good, and the beautiful unlock our hearts, and give us eyes for a reality which is GREATER.

Let's experience truth, beauty, and goodness together, as a community. Everyone is invited to a public evening at Martin Saints on Thursday, May 23rd, at 7pm.

Our student choir will sing.

Student art and craftmanship will be on display.

Renowned and award-winning professor of literature James Matthew Wilson will read some of his poetry and give a talk about the transcendent in Catholic education.

(Who is James Matthew Wilson? "A poet who works like a priest," showing us how everyday life can be sacramental. And if you click on this link, you can hear a Relevant Radio commercial for our event.)

Should you attend this event? Sometimes we have choices about our leisure. Getting out of the house on a week night can be tough. It's normal to be tired sometimes. Modern life tries its best to compete with eternal life. There are chores to do. Anesthetizing ourselves with the internet can be tempting.

But I think you want to rally for this one. Please come be part of the Martin Saints community, please come participate in what makes this school special.

"Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

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On Notre Dame, Our Inheritance, and Hope

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As I left school yesterday afternoon, my phone had messages from four or five faculty members: had I heard that Notre Dame cathedral was burning? I went online and looked at the pictures: the flames toppling the spire. The crowds gathered across the river, singing Ave Maria into the night
I wept. Why? Why did a fire nearly 4000 miles away affect so many of us so deeply?
Perhaps it was partly just stress that needed to find an outlet. I’d had a difficult meeting after Mass yesterday morning. Sometimes the practicalities of starting a school really are challenging.
But it was more than that. It mattered that it was this cathedral, this particular gem in the crown of Catholic Europe. For example, I assume that this 800 year old Rose Window no longer exists:

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Receiving a classical education means, in part, learning to receive this beauty as one’s own patrimony. At Martin Saints, our students are apprentices, young men and women being cultivated so that they are capable of receiving their inheritance.
What was on fire last night is a piece of that patrimony, a choice portion of our inheritance. People have been worshiping on that site since Roman times, through the Carolingian and Viking ages. Eventually, two hundred years of construction in the high middle ages created the building more or less as we know it today. Thomas Aquinas would have known and recognized it. What was burning last night is a chapter in the story that makes us who we are.
In 1969, the British art historian Sir Kenneth Clark stood across the Seine from Notre Dame cathedral and famously said: “What is civilization? I don’t know. I can’t define it in abstract terms yet.” But then he turned and looked across the river at Notre Dame: “But I think I can recognize it when I see it, and I’m looking at it now.” (Watch the whole documentary at this link; this quote occurs at 3:32.)
Civilization is a perilous thing. In that same BBC documentary, Sir Kenneth talks about how western civilization had nearly perished after the fall of Rome, and he warns that we could face similar danger again someday.
Please pray for Paris, pray for Europe, pray for the renewal of the Church, pray for the revival of classical education in our era, and pray for Martin Saints.


The rose windows survived! Read more in Rod Dreher’s article Hope in The Ruins.


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