Joined Together in the Mission of Charity

The Beginning of Life to the End of Life


Sister Mary McMahon, a Sister of Saint Martha, has served in nursing ministry for more than 50 years. She was a nurse educator for the St. Francis Xavier University nursing program for a number of years, and the Director of Nursing Education at St. Martha’s Hospital School of Nursing in Antigonish. She also spent time in St. Kitt’s in the Caribbean doing parish work, offering spiritual and health care services to the folks there.

Now, 80 years old, she has come full circle in her ministry from working primarily in maternity/infant care to working with elderly residents at Glen Haven Nursing Home in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

“I’ve come full cycle from the beginning of life to the end of life,” Sister Mary said. “I really call my ministry here a ministry of presence.”

Sister Mary makes her rounds each day to check in on critically ill. She offers compassionate presence to residents and staff alike, listening to their concerns and providing support, comfort and prayer. She collaborates with the recreation department, occasionally participating in group dances and activities with the residents. She also brings communion to residents who can’t come to weekly Mass.

“I don’t do anything exceptional. I guess I consider it a privilege to minister in this facility and bring comfort, happiness, peace, and joy to people, give them that welcome. It just reinforces for me that I’m doing something worthwhile.”

For residents who pass away, Sister Mary leads a Memorial Service for the families and attends Funeral Services for residents.

“Being in a facility like this, most of the residents leave through death. I spend time sitting with the families and become a listening ear during their stressful times. It’s important to have someone who can sit there and help them through the dying process and help them understand what’s happening. I’ve been touched by the fact that I’ve been able to be a help that way. I’m available for people of all faiths or no faith, it doesn’t matter.”

Through interaction with the 212 residents of the nursing home, and their families, Sister Mary has touched the lives of thousands of people over the years.

“When I think of being here 14 years, I can hardly believe it myself! I think about how God’s ways are kind of strange sometimes, where he leads you into areas you wouldn’t have chosen yourself, and the Lord provides you with whatever you need, and you do your best.”


  1. REPLY
    Mina Gillis Chamberlain says

    HI Sister :Just a little note from an old friend, Mina Gillis -Chamberlain.I remember you when I was a student nurse. You were such a good nurse, and so kind to me.My dear Bernie Gillis who died in 2001, loved the Sisters of Saint Martha who worked so hard in St.Kitts, their ministry was awesome.The years Bernie and I worked to help the needy in Saint Kitts through our Parish in Rothesay NB were so rewarding.Bernie is gone but never forgotten, He is enjoying eternal rest.Sending my love and hugs,keep up your good work.Mina.

  2. REPLY
    Yvonne Shepherd says

    She is a true inspiration. I have enjoyed watching how much joy she brings to the residents and their families.

  3. REPLY
    Monica stone says

    A real wonderful Sister,and such a great volunteer.
    I volunteered for many years myself,in hospice work.

  4. REPLY
    Ernie MacInnis says

    Sister Mary is an angel! I have known her for about 25 years or so, met her in a folk choir at the former Christ the King Church in Trenton, NS. She was there for anything that needed to be done and did it with passion and integrity! We all love you Sister Mary! Bravo to you!

  5. REPLY
    Paula Tulkens says

    GodBlessYou Sister. You have done God’s Will. Most needed activities, giving time to those who need it most — no matter what the situation. Your love for these fortunate individuals had to mean so much for those in need if only for your presence. I feel I need to be a good example to others — I will have to see what HE will lead me to. Thank You for showing me that people still care, and no matter how small we feel our giving to be, to others it may mean much more. AMEN🙏🙏🙏

  6. REPLY
    Janine says

    Beautiful picture and life Sister Mary has been helping sooo many,doing great work.💕💕

  7. REPLY
    laurie (allard)britnell says

    You will be dearly missed at GHM your a beautiful soul.

  8. REPLY
    Cathy Van Den Eynden says

    Sister Mary became a very important part of our family a few years back and did the funeral as well for our brother and son, friend and uncle and nephew to many, Chesley Alan Canning

  9. REPLY
    Betty says

    Sr. Mary is one of a kind…l love her visits .💕

  10. REPLY
    Marie says

    Sister Mary is the. Sweetest lady..she brightens up your life when ever she walks into the room. God bless you sister Mary.

  11. REPLY
    John MacKenzie says

    I met Sister Mary at my Sister’s passing She was an angel to my sister and all my family
    you are truly special

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