A funeral Mass for Loretto Sister Gabriel Mary Hoare was celebrated May 6 in the Church of the Seven Dolors on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky. A noted artist, Sister Gabriel Mary taught in Webster Groves for more than half a century at Nerinx Hall High School and was a member of the Webster University Art Department faculty for nearly three decades. She died May 1 at Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. She was 93 and had just celebrated the 70th year of her Loretto commitment.
Sister Gabe, as she was affectionately known, was born March 28, 1929, in Denver to parents Mary (Breen) and Patrick Hoare. She entered the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross in 1951, was received into the congregation April 25, 1952, and made her first vows in 1954 and her final vows in 1957. Sister Gabe earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama with minors in English and education from Loretto Heights College in Denver in 1951, a master’s in art from Notre Dame University in 1962 and a master’s in gerontology from Webster University in 1983. She studied in the art department of Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, 1954-56, learning the process of serigraphy from then-Sister Corita Kent, IHM.
Many people will remember Sister Gabe singing “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” at Christmas Mass. It was a prayer, an artistic rendering of faith, a gift to God and to community. She used every talent for others. For more than 50 years, Sister Gabe taught art and drama at Nerinx Hall. At Webster University, she was a member of the art department faculty, 1963-90, serving as chair and assistant dean from 1974-84. In her name, donors established a scholarship fund at Webster. Sister Gabe also taught for 25 years at the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center and served on the board of directors for “The Learning Center.” She was director of the Arts for the Elderly, Missouri Office on Aging, in St. Louis, 1978. She also served as administrative staff and as a health resources team member for Loretto.
Sister Gabe was a noted watercolorist and serigrapher whose work has been displayed locally and nationally. Her numerous honors include the Nerinx Hall Faculty Association’s 2002 Outstanding Teacher Award, the Webster Alumni Association’s Mary Elizabeth Newell Award, the Purchase Award for Best Religious Art at the Missouri Art Show, the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis 2007 Art Educator of the Year Award and the Episcopal City Ministries’ “Moment in Time” Award. A talented artist, singer and actress who inspired students in theater, music and the visual arts, Sister Gabe said that being able to share the “personal gift of yourself” was one of life’s and her greatest joys.
Preceding her in death were her parents and siblings, James Patrick Breen, Mary J. Cady, Thomas A. Horan and Loretto Sister Marie Patrice Hoare. Burial was in Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery on the Loretto Motherhouse grounds.