Sister Gabriella Rogenski, a native of Granite City, Ill., entered religious life in 1954 from Our Lady of Czestochowa (St. Mary’s) in Madison, Ill. She credits the Sisters who taught her as influencing her decision to become a Sister. She admired how they acted after school and, especially, how they prayed together.
Sister Gabriella earned a bachelor of arts in history from Marillac College and a bachelor of fine arts in sculpture from Fontbonne University. She taught at St. John Lateran School in Imperial, Mo. (1957–60; 67–69), Ascension School in Normandy, Mo. (1965–67), North American Martyrs School in Florissant, Mo. (1969–71), St. Joseph Parish in Meppen, Ill. (1962–63), St. Mark’s Parish in Venice, Ill. (1963–64), and St. Christopher’s in Black Jack, Mo. (1972–75).
She was director at Mount Providence, the Community’s motherhouse (1986–89), and then served on the St. Louis Archdiocesan Commission on Sacred Art and Architecture (1989–2000). She was a designer for Artes del Valle, a Mexican-American Art Center based at St. Francis Jerome Parish in the Diocese of Pueblo, Colo. (1975–84), and a floral designer at Dierbergs Family Grocery & Floral Shop in St. Louis (1996–2005). Presently, Sister Gabriella, an artist, continues her lifelong study of art. She lives at Providence House in Florissant, where she welcomes and hosts visitors from other parts of the province.
During her time in Colorado, Sister Gabriella lived among the Mexican-American migrant workers who worked the fields to put food on their table. She recalls, “These are God’s poor, whom I had never met before, and I witnessed daily their deep faith and family ties. They taught us the meaning of justice, discrimination, just wages, education, and self-esteem.”
When reflecting on the charism of the Community and what it means to her daily life, Sister Gabriella says, “Human dignity, justice, and trust are most important to me.” She tries to follow the gospel message the same way the Community’s founders, Bishop Ketteler and Marie de la Roche, did, and she strives to be present to everyone she meets.
Describing herself as “artistic, happy, and welcoming,” Sister Gabriella enjoys designing, gardening, and helping to heal the environment. She also enjoys keeping up to date on political, cultural, and local and international issues.