Sister Magdalen (Barbara Mary) Egan was born in Waterbury, Connecticut on September 15, 1927, the first of three children. After graduation from high school, she went on to a four-year nursing program and afterwards practiced nursing for a short time. At some point she met Father Donald O’Leary who had a great gift for discerning and encouraging religious vocations. Father recognized in Sister Magdalen a deep inclination towards interior prayer and through his help she discovered Mount Saint Mary's Abbey, Wrentham, which she entered on April 27, 1951. She made her Temporary Profession on May 25, 1953 and Final Profession on the same day in 1956. When permission was given to the nuns of our Order to make Solemn Profession, she was in the large group that took that final step on the Feast of the Sacred Heart on June 28, 1957.
Sister Magdalen served the community in many ways over the years, one of her longstanding services being that of Vocation Director. As our candy business grew she helped in the very large job of restructuring it to be mail order. She was our first archivist, a labor she loved and persevered in until her eyes gave out. But perhaps she is most remembered for her large and nourishing vegetable garden that became known in the community as the Garden of Egan! In whatever she did, Sister Magdalen displayed a most profound graciousness combined with enthusiasm and gratitude, even though she had to struggle to maintain this spirit in the last 15 years of her life, so marked by frailty and illness.
The final day of Sister Magdalen’s life was radiant with the loving providence of God. During Mass as the sisters began to process up to receive Holy Communion, Sister Magdalen, sitting in the back with the infirm, took the hand of the sister next to her and ardently said, “Let us run to meet the Lord Jesus!”—a perfect word from a Magdalen heart. In the afternoon she received a long desired visit from her beloved niece and nephew. After that great consolation, she rested in her room and died on September 28, 2012, while the community was singing Vespers. We gathered around her with deep affection and gratitude for her faithful life, knowing that she had truly run to meet her Lord.