Mother Mary Magdalen dies at 93


Mother Mary Magdalen Brunck, a Carmelite nun in Baltimore for 69 years, died Feb. 10 at Mercy Villa on Bellona Avenue.

A Mass of Christian burial for Mother Mary Magdalen, who was 93, was offered yesterday in the chapel of the Carmelite Monastery in Towson.

Born in New York City, Loretto Frances Mary Brunck grew up in Hoboken, N.J. As a young woman, she worked as an accountant and explored various faiths before joining the Carmelite Sisters in Baltimore at age 23. At that time, the Carmelite Monastery was located at Caroline and Biddle streets in East Baltimore. As prioress, she directed the building of a new monastery in Dulaney Valley and moved the community there in 1961.

Mother Mary Magdalen led the Baltimore Carmelites for 15 years (1943-1949, 1955-1961 and in 1967-1970). She also served as director of formation for 12 years.

Her missionary spirit led her to send sisters from Baltimore to the Philippines, where they established a new Carmelite monastery in Naga City in 1947. She also struggled to find a place for black women in U.S. Carmelite communities long before civil rights and racial justice came to the fore.

Her work helped to create a vibrant community that has just finished celebrating its 200th anniversary in Maryland.

Survivors include her sisters, Grace Moran and Elizabeth Dowling of Middletown, N.J., three nieces, one nephew and eight grand-nieces and nephews.

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