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Sister Gabriel Mary’s Artwork

Posted on November 29, 2022, by Susanna Pyatt

Guess which artist is most represented in the Loretto Heritage Center? Sister Gabriel Mary Hoare! We have over 70 works by her in the collections here. People who have been to the Motherhouse have likely seen other pieces by her on the walls in the Motherhouse buildings, and still more of her works decorate Loretto homes and institutions across the country.

Sister Gabriel Mary was born Anne Elizabeth Hoare in 1929. She grew up in Denver, CO. Part of her education was at Loretto’s Holy Family High School, and she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Speech and Drama at Loretto Heights College in 1951. She entered the Loretto postulancy the next year. Her first assignment was in South Pasadena, CA. During her time in California, Gabriel Mary began taking weekend and summer art classes at Immaculate Heart College. She studied serigraphy with famed printmaker Corita Kent, then a Sister of the Immaculate Heart. Gabriel Mary’s experiences at Immaculate Heart influenced not just the medium of her art, but also the social and political messages she presented.

Archival photo of a nun in habit standing next to artwork on display. Two young women in 1960's fashion stand on the other side of the display.
Sister Gabriel Mary with students at an art exhibit, 1960s.
Image courtesy of Webster University.

Gabriel Mary was soon assigned as art and drama teacher at Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis, MO. She continued her art education, taking courses at Webster College and then completing a MA in Art at Notre Dame University. She was assigned as Head of the Art Department at Webster College in 1963. Gabriel Mary taught design, serigraphy, and art education at Webster, then served as an Assistant Dean until 1990. She returned to Nerinx Hall High School in the 1990s to teach art and humanities classes. During her professional life, Gabriel Mary also studied gerontology and environmental design. She used this education to design programs for older adults and to serve the Loretto Community as a resource person for retired and elderly Sisters.

A smiling woman stands in a silkscreening workshop, holding up a beautiful print of pinks, reds and white.
Gabriel Mary printing her piece “Silver Thistle” at a 1988 serigraphy class.
Image courtesy of Webster University.

Though we at the Heritage Center know Gabriel Mary best for her prolific output of artistic work, she wrote:

I always considered myself a teacher first and an artist secondly… Working with other people to discover the possibilities has been what I have considered to be most satisfying in the classroom, in committee work, and in training teachers. Each individual is so unique, has such personal gifts, that the real challenge is to enable each person to discover those gifts, provide the right setting where they can develop them and then encourage them to put their whole hearts and energies into using them for themselves and for others.

“Why I Teach,” December 1987

The selection of artwork below is on display in the Novitiate Gallery at the Loretto Motherhouse during the winter of 2022-2023.

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Susanna Pyatt

Susanna Pyatt is the curator for the Loretto Heritage Center. A graduate of Western Kentucky University's Folk Studies program, she geeks out over American communal societies, historic buildings, and the artifacts of daily life.
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