The Bishop Feehan family lost someone last week many considered the school’s matriarch when Sister Mary Faith Harding, RSM, passed away a week ago Saturday.

I didn’t realize until recently that Sister Faith’s first year as Feehan’s principal was also my first year on Holcott Drive, having previously served as a teacher and librarian at the school.

Sister Faith was like most of the Sisters of Mercy serving the school, stern while also showing compassion when needed.

I remember her standing outside of the main office in between classes to give students that look that she was famous for when she witnessed someone misbehaving or acting inappropriately. She would also a fixture in the stands for the school’s athletic events or the auditorium for plays and musical performances, often offering words of encouragement the day of a big game or show.

What I’ll remember most about her, though is the time I did something really stupid and was called into her office, as a result. I posted an anonymous letter I had written on a hallway wall ridiculing one of the other nuns.

The identity of the culprit spread quickly and I was summoned to her office less than an hour after taping the paper to the cinder block wall. Petrified would be an understatement as I sheepishly took a seat in front of her desk.

I look back at it now and believe that, while she didn’t condone my behavior, she understood why I did it. She took the time to listen to me and then quietly explained why my actions were wrong.

Other than apologizing to the sister I offended, I wasn’t disciplined or my parents notified. She never mentioned the incident again.

It was a teachable moment and the way she handled it was why she was an incredible educator. Her actions made me a better person.

She would always greet me with a big smile when I’d see her years later at a Feehan event or at 4 o’clock Mass at Attleboro’s St. John’s. I realize now that the smile was because we were like sons and daughters to her.

While Sister Faith sacrificed her entire adult life to others, the other two women in this week’s column do not.

I received a text from Nancy Pelosi last week claiming she was just checking in “during such a pivotal time for our country.” The message then asked me to take the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s survey provided.

Those of you who know me know that Nancy won’t be getting anything from me. Besides, I doubt she’d like what I’d have to say about the majority of Democrats in Washington.

I received a letter that same day from Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota.

I had never heard of Kristi Noem, but the Republican invited me to join her “Governor’s Inner Circle” by donating at least $35 to help her defend her name, record, state and our shared principles.

Noem added that freedom-loving conservatives like us “must band together against the big government overreach coming out of Washington.” She wanted me to offer my input, advice, prayers and resolve against the Biden-Harris infringement on our God-given rights.

Those of you who know me know that Kristi won’t be getting a dime. I’m not even sure that South Dakota — with a population half the size of Phoenix — should have ever been granted statehood and the two U.S Senate seats that go with it.

What upset me most about Noem was her use of God in her letter. I often wonder what he would think about the way Republicans turn their backs on so many of his children. He may even say to them, “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”

Something Sister Faith will never hear.

Peter Gay is executive director of North Attleborough Community Television Inc. — North TV. The views expressed in his column are not necessarily those of North TV. Reach him at His essays are published here each Monday.

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