Biographies

Sister M. Fides Murphy, MM

Born: August 11, 1896
Entered: March 19, 1922
Died: April 2, 1971

At 3:00 a.m. Friday, April 2, 1971, Sister Mary Fides, (Josephine Murphy) at the age of 74, went home to God. Most Maryknoll Sisters had never seen her or known her. Now what was mortal in her has been clothed with what is immortal, what was darkness is light, and her spirit, free again, possesses the vision of God.

Mary Johanna, Josephine Murphy was born on August 11, 1896 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Her father, John D. Murphy and her mother, Anna Cronin, both came from Ireland. Following their deaths, Josephine, who was rather young, went to St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, New Jersey. There, the Sisters of Charity cared for her. Later she worked for them.

In 1921, when she was 25 years old, she confided her desire to become a foreign missionary to Father Daniel Hogan, a chaplain at St. Mary’s. He encouraged her and on March 19, 1922, Mother Mary Joseph welcomed Josephine Murphy to Maryknoll.

Although Josephine would realize her dream of becoming a missionary Sister, she would never leave her native land and serve the people of the Orient for whom she thought she had come. “God’s ways are not our ways,” and we cannot fathom the mysteries of God’s designs. Through faith, however, we can embrace them.

As a postulant, Josephine, in Mother Mary Joseph’s own words, “had a bright and happy disposition. She was exceedingly docile and affectionate. She was generous and never too tired to serve others.” When time came for Josephine’s reception, Mother observed, “She is so very faithful, I shall call her Fides.” On the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1924, Sister Fides pronounced her first vows. Three years later, she made her final profession. The same year, 1927, in July, Sister Fides left for Los Altos, California. It soon became evident that Sister was not well.  She returned to the Motherhouse and never was assigned to the foreign missions.

Sister Fides Murphy was 34 years old when she entered the hospital on December 2, 1950. Except for an occasional outing to view the New York countryside in spring or autumn, Sister never left the hospital. Sister’s faithful friends visited her regularly. She recalled to them her early days at Maryknoll.

Sister’s body will be brought to Maryknoll and the Mass of the Resurrection will be offered for her on Monday, April 5, 1971. She will be buried in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery. At last, Sister Fides, so long absent from the Community she loved so much in her youth, will have come home to rest near the grave of Mother Mary Joseph whom she loved to call, “My darling mother.”