Sister Mary Bur to Retire After 22 Years as Principal of West Catholic Preparatory High School

Friday, January 16th

Sister Mary Bur, IHM will retire at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.


Sister Mary Bur, IHM, principal of West Catholic Preparatory High School since 1993, has announced she will retire at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year following 27 years of leadership at the school. The announcement was made first to the West Catholic school community on January 12th via the school’s website and social media accounts.

Sister Mary’s career at West Catholic began in 1987 when she became Assistant Principal of then West Philadelphia Catholic Girls High School. She remained Assistant Principal through the merger with the Boys high school in 1989. She was named principal of West Philadelphia Catholic High School in 1993.

Brother Richard Kestler, F.S.C., President of West Catholic Preparatory High School said of Sister Mary, “Sister and I first met while she served as Principal at Saint Agatha School, Philadelphia, and again in 1999 when I was appointed President of West, and finally a third time in 2012 when I returned. In all of this time, I have admired Sister for her wisdom in dealing with students and bringing their best to the fore. There is none more dedicated to West Catholic and its mission. Sister has laid a foundation of excellence and compassion that has affected both our staff and student body that has made us the great school of today.”

Before her time at West Catholic, as a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Sister Mary served as an educator in several schools in the region including: Saint Cyril of Alexandria School in East Lansdowne (Delaware County); Saint Eugene School in Primos (Delaware County); the former Saint Irenaeus/Raphael School in Philadelphia; the former Saint Agatha School in Philadelphia; Allentown Central Catholic High School in Allentown, PA; Bishop Shanahan High School (Chester County) and Archbishop Ryan High School.

Dr. Carol Cary, Superintendent of Secondary Schools in the Office of Catholic Education said, “During her decades of service, Sister Mary has positively impacted countless students in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as a leader in Catholic Education. On behalf of the Office of Catholic Education I extend my deep gratitude and prayerful best wishes to Sister Mary for her dedication to educating the young people of our Archdiocese, particularly the students at West Catholic. Through her leadership, caring and passion for urban education, Sister has left a lasting legacy at West Catholic Preparatory High School, which will be felt by former, current and future students for years to come.”

Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) Center for Catholic and Urban Education will present Sister Mary with the Ratio Studiorum Award, for exceptional leadership in collaborative efforts to improve educational systems and contribution to the future and sustainability of quality Catholic Education, at a Catholic Schools Week Awards and Lecture to be held on January 22, 2015 at SJU.