A funeral Mass for Loretto Sister Mary Denis Bruck was celebrated April 13 in the Church of the Seven Dolors on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky. Sister Mary Denis died April 1 at Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. She was, at age 103, the eldest member of the Loretto Community and in the 78th year of her commitment as a Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross.
Baptized Hedwig Isabelle Bruck, she was born Jan. 25, 1918, in Quincy, Illinois, the oldest child in a family of six girls. She entered the Sisters of Loretto in 1942 from Corpus Christi Parish in St. Louis and was received into Loretto in 1943, taking the name Sister Mary Denis. She made her first vows in 1945 and her final vows in 1948. Sister Mary Denis earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with minors in philosophy and education, in 1952 from Webster College (now University) in Webster Groves, and a master’s degree in business education in 1961 from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
For most of her years of ministry, Sister Mary Denis served as a teacher and principal at Loretto-staffed schools in Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky and New Mexico. In the St. Louis Archdiocese, she taught from 1946-53 at St. Ann School in Normandy. She served as coordinator of the Loretto Denver Center for 15 years. In 1990, Sister Mary Denis began ministering in San Diego, where she worked as a secretary, research assistant and taught religious education at a junior high until her retirement in 1994. She continued to volunteer in San Diego until 2011, when she moved to the Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. Until her death, she kept active with visiting residents, attending the many activities at the motherhouse, continuing her painting and watching every major sports event on TV she could.
Sister Mary Denis is survived by two siblings, Betty and Helen Bruck, both of St. Charles. Burial took place at Loretto Motherhouse Cemetery.