Sister Faith McGahan

Written on: February 20, 2017

Sister Faith McGahan, GNSH, formerly Sister David Martin, 79, died at St. Joseph’s Manor on February 20,2017 in the 62nd year of her religious life.


The following Words of Remembrance were delivered at her funeral liturgy by Sister Mary Courts:

FAITH… so many thoughts come to mind just in uttering her name and knowing how much these last few months challenged her.

I have known Faith for more than 40 years—we travelled together, watched the news in the evening, and whatever the occasion, we were always there for one another.

During those 40 years, Faith devoted herself to teaching her students in Jackson Heights, NY, Lowell, MA, Ogdensburg, Eden and Buffalo, NY.

It was at Sacred Heart in Ogdensburg that she met her dear friend Sr. Elizabeth Ann.  Their life-long friendship was one of love and mutual respect.

Faith’s happiest ministry was her 30+ years of service to students, staff, and teachers at her alma mater, Holy Angels Academy in Buffalo.

Students found in Faith a kindred spirit.  They sought her advice and confided in her.  Whenever we went anywhere in Buffalo, there would be undoubtedly a HAA “girl” happy to greet her.  An Alum recently put a notice of her death on Facebook.  Within hours, there were dozens of responses from former HAA students.  How sad she was when HAA closed.

Here are some examples of what the students said:

  • Faith was a favorite of all the girls.
  • She was a wonderful Lady! I could always speak my mind with her.  She always understood and appreciated my puny math humor.  I will miss her.
  • I always enjoyed my chats with Sr. Faith. She had a wonderful sense of humor and will be greatly missed.
  • I am so sad! I loved Sr. Faith.
  • I adored Sr. Faith… a sweetheart. May she rest in peace.
  • Peace, Sr. Faith. Heaven received another angel today.
  • She was always so nice to me, even when I was late for school every day!!
  • She was my favorite person to hang out with at school. I think of her every day when I go to work.  I told her once that it was her influence that kept me going in the insanity of a school office.
  • She was a wonderful woman! (multiple comments of this sort)
  • She was always so kind and had a great sense of humor.
  • I loved her so much! She was a beautiful soul, and it showed in her actions.  She will be missed.
  • She was so kind, always a nice word to say, an easy smile, and just so very comfortable to be around, especially if you were having a difficult day.
  • Peace Sr. Faith. You were a kind and gentle soul.  A sweet woman.  I will miss you

Faith was a simple, quiet person except when it came to the Buffalo Bills.  We’d often watch the games together and to say she cheered loudly would be an understatement.  Her maxim when the team lost… ‘There’s always next year.”

Faith was kind and generous, especially to me.  In fact, she was always ready to help anyone, anytime.  In fact, a nurse at St. Joseph’s Manor commented, “I liked Sr. Faith.  She would be a person that could be my friend.  I could understand her when she became angry because I would be angry about those same things.  She didn’t always speak a lot but she never missed a thing.  She knew when people were authentic.”

Faith loved her family!  She was always happy when her sister called or her nieces or nephews dropped in for a visit.

My prayer is that she now experiences much peace in the loving arms of the Good Shepherd, to whom she had such prayerful devotion.

We love you Faith.  Thank you for your FAITH-filled life.


For 58 years she was involved in teaching and the administrative aspects of education.  Loved by students, parents and colleagues, she was a welcome presence with her cheerful smile and sympathetic ear throughout her years of ministry.

With the exception of 6 years in Lowell, MA, she served in her home state of New York in Jackson Heights, Eden, Ogdensburg and Buffalo.  She taught one year at Holy Angels School before moving across town in 1977 to Holy Angels Academy where she served in the front office, successively as assistant, office manager and business manager until the school closed in 2013.

Born to George E. and Catherine Wilson McGahan in Buffalo, she attended both Holy Angels School and Academy, graduating from the Academy in 1954 and entering the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart the following year, 1955. She received her BA in History from D’Youville College.

Predeceased by her parents and sister, Madonna Nelligan, she is survived by her sister, Sheila Loveland and nephew David Loveland in addition to her religious community.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Services at the Holy Redeemer Sisters Chapel, 521 Moredon Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006, will be on Saturday, February 25, 2017. A time of remembrance will be from 9:30 until 10:15 a.m., followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Sister Faith will be buried with her family in Buffalo, NY.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Sister Faith’s memory may be made online to the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, or by mail at the following address:14500 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116.

Funeral arrangements by Beck-Givnish Funeral Homes, Inc.


11 thoughts on “Sister Faith McGahan

  1. Karleenjo. Angrisano says:

    Sisters……I posted notice of Sr. Faith’s death today on Holy Angels Academy fscebook page as well as my own page. Over 100 people have responded with prayers, sympathy and personal thoughts during these few hours so far. Sr.Faith is loved and remembered.

  2. Rebecca Cambria 1983 says:

    LOVED Sr. Faith! She always had a smile for me, ran the office with efficiency, dignity and grace. Secretly I think she got a kick out of all the “circumstances” I managed to get into at HAA. I will always treasure her in my memory. My prayers continue for her family and religious community❤

  3. Jennifer Waple Noga says:

    She was favorite nun while attending Holy Angels Academy. I think about her often. That you for your smile each time I saw you. So kind. So forgiving. Rest In Peace.

  4. Kerry Waple says:

    Sister Faith Marie was an amazing women! She was disarming to all the students and a voice of reason when ours ran short! Her humor and wisdom helped me trough many tough adolescent situations and I will always remember her immense kindness! We love and miss you Sister Faith!!!

  5. Patti Whitcombe Oakes says:

    RIP Sister Faith Marie! I love her she was a great teacher . I remember all the children running to greet her every morning as she walked over from the convent.

  6. Lisa (Burlingame) Herzog '88 says:

    Sr. Faith was a sweetheart at my days at HAA. May she now rest in peace. Prayers to her family and friends at this time.

  7. Penny Marranca HAA 1987 says:

    I really loved Sr. Faith. She had the patience of a saint and was always willing to listen to me. That meant the world to me. You couldn’t pull the wool over her eyes either!!

    Rest in peace, Sr. Faith. You served all of us with beauty, grace, dignity, and humility.

  8. Peggy Hagerty Pierce says:

    Sr Faith Marie was my first cousin and although I didn’t see much of her because I left Buffalo after college, I was always a fan. We had the same sense of humor and and we had some fun when we did see each other. I tried to see her the last few times I was in Buffalo, but she was not available. She will surely be in my thoughts and prayers and her name will always make me smile
    Love to Sheila and all the Lovelands. Peggy Hagerty Pierce. HAS 60, HAA 64, DYC 68. God bless the Grey Nuns!

  9. Beth Frank HAA '85 says:

    My condolences to the community on the passing of Sr. Faith, one of the finest people I have ever met in life. Her quiet way and sense of humor will be missed.

  10. Dawn M. Iacono says:

    I am saddened to hear that a Sister Faith has passed but filled with joy as I know she has been welcomed into the Kingdom as a holy servant. I will always remember her as a gentle woman of great kindness, meekness and compassion. We shared the same birthday! God grant her eternal rest and peace. < Dawn M. Iacono

  11. Colleen Luckie says:

    Sr. Faith Marie was a gift at Bishop Conroy Memorial School! She was loved by all. She had a great sense of humor and made our learning years delightful!
    God’s Blessings…Sr. Faith Marie

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