Sister Gabrielle Rowe, ASC
May 9, 2023
Sister Gabrielle Rowe, ASC, died at 4:25 p.m. on May 4, 2023, at Benedictine Living Community at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, Illinois. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 22, 1930, she was baptized Nancy Ann and was the fourth of five children in the family of James and Alice (Clark) Rowe.
The family later moved to New Jersey. Sister Gabrielle made her first profession in 1959 and her final vows in 1964. She was 92 years old and had been professed for 63 years.
She received her bachelor’s degree in Literature and Speech from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1952. Following her entrance into the ASC community in 1957, she earned her master’s in Literature from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1969. Her doctorate in Literature and Language, gained in 1973, was accompanied by a Fellowship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She taught while pursuing her doctorate.
Sister Gabrielle’s teaching ministry included students at the levels of university and high school. During her thirteen years at McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois, she held the position of assistant professor, then Associate Dean while she remained associate professor. In addition to her work at McKendree, she worked at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Illinois, as part of their GED program, helping persons qualify for their Graduation Equivalency Diploma. The majority of her years as a secondary teacher were spent at St. Pius X High School in Festus, Missouri. She also served at St. Edmund High School in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Precious Blood Institute in Ruma, Illinois, and Assumption High School in East St. Louis. She also held the position of Public Relations for Gibault High School in Waterloo, Illinois.
In terms of community service, her talents were needed as the Publicity Coordinator for the former Ruma Province for several years. Her term as one of the Provincial Councillors for Ruma was cut short by her election to the General Administration (1995-1999), the Leadership Team for the entire international community, based in Rome.
Not only did Sister Gabrielle pursue deeper contact with her God and new developments in spirituality, as witnessed by her year at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri, but she was also a lifelong learner in many fields. Her awareness of life and her intellectual acumen kept her mind always open and her heart available to world events.
Her perception of the needs of the ill and elderly prompted her to gain Clinical Pastoral Training at Lutheran Senior Services in St. Louis. She served as a Pastoral Visitor, then as on-call Chaplain at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Belleville, Illinois, for more than 15 years. Her final ministry centered around Programs and Services for Older Persons in Belleville.
Sister Gabrielle remained a teacher in her years of retirement as she volunteered to help at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis. Even though she had never taught students younger than ninth grade, she found working one-on-one with kindergarten children “life-giving, challenging, fun and delightful.”
Her varied talents were recognized by McKendree College when they appointed her to the John Peter Smith Chair of the English Language in 1993. In a letter from the Office of Academic Affairs, Dean Ormond Smythe stated his admiration and respect for her “efficiency, sensitivity, integrity, diligence and intelligence.”
She served on committees and boards, notably the Board of Trustees of Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, where she served several terms.
Sister Gabrielle is survived by her sister Emmie Haight, nieces, nephews and the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother James (Roxanne) Rowe, her sisters Jane (John) Deery, Alice (Alfred) Delduco and brother-in-law Edwin Haight.
Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Benedictine Living Chapel on Monday, May 15, 2023. Prayer and the Sharing of Memories will begin at 10:00, followed by the Mass of the Resurrection at 11:15. Immediately after Mass, the Funeral Procession with the cremains will travel to the ASC Cemetery in Ruma for burial.
Adorers of the Blood of Christ
United States Region
May 9, 2023