Born Bridget McMahon, Sister Mary Fidelia McMahon, C.S.J., was a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, entering the convent in 1872, and professing final vows at St. Louis, Missouri in 1874. She taught school in Missouri, and was then sent to Arizona in 1884. Mother Fidelia served in Tucson, Arizona for 37 years, and she was the Mother Superior and president of St. Mary's Hospital for 28 years, starting in 1893, until retiring with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Los Angeles two years before her death at age 72. From her obituary in the Arizona Daily Star, Feb. 8, 1923:
"Death Claims Mother Fidelia In Los Angeles:
Mother Vincentia and the good Sisters of St. Mary's Hospital are deeply mourning the loss of their former Superior, Mother Fidelia, whose death at the Provincial House of the Sisters of St. Joseph, at Los Angeles, occurred on Tuesday. Death came to the venerable and greatly loved nun at the age of 72, and after nearly a half century of devoted service to her church and to suffering humanity. For 28 years she was in direct charge of St. Mary's Hospital, which through her sole efforts she built up from the original one stone building to the present modern group that has facilities for 100 patients. Mother Fidelia, before taking the veil, was Miss McMahon of Cohoes, New York, where her relatives now reside. She came to Tucson 30 years ago to take charge of St. Mary's Hospital and the St. Joseph Orphanage, which at that time occupied a space on the hospital grounds. The orphanage was burned to the ground in 1900, and the site of the building erected in its place, changed to its present location south of Tucson. During the years that she was connected with the Tucson institution, through her quiet generosity, dignity and sympathy, Mother Fidelia greatly endeared herself not only to the sisters under her charge, but to the patients who knew her tender care and the physicians and businessmen who came in contact with her. Two years ago last September, primarily because of her advancing age, Mother Fidelia was transferred to the Los Angeles institution, where she remained until her death. By her personal endeavor, since becoming the superior at St. Mary's, Mother Fidelia caused the erection of the sanitarium building, the surgical and medical clinical building, the Sisters' building and other less important structures that make up St. Mary's group."
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