Frances Gabrielle Hess, IHM


Sister Frances Gabrielle was one of two daughters and three sons born to Francis and Gabrielle (Horn) Hess. She was born on April 6, 1924, in Elizabeth City, N.J., and given the name Mildred. Young Mildred attended several elementary schools in Detroit and graduated from Visitation High School, Detroit. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Marygrove College, Detroit and State of Michigan teaching certification before entering the IHM community. In 1949, Mildred entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, and received the religious name of Sister Frances Gabrielle.

Her early teaching assignments brought her to St. Patrick, Wyandotte, Mich., and Immaculata and St. Cecilia, Detroit. Within a few years, she returned to study at Michigan State College (University), Lansing, Mich., earning a Master of Science degree. Sister Frances Gabrielle began a 20-year career as college/university professor at Marygrove College, serving as faculty, chairperson of the Home Economics Department, chairperson of the Human Ecology Department and assistant professor of Foods and Nutrition. She completed much of the doctoral program in biology at Wayne State University, Detroit. In 1976, Sister Frances Gabrielle joined the faculty of Madonna College, Livonia, as faculty, assistant professor and director for the Dietetics Program. Her 20-year ministry at Madonna also encompassed pastoral care as a residence hall counselor.

Following her tenure at Madonna, Sister Frances Gabrielle served as archivist at Catholic Central High School, Redford, Mich., before retiring to the Motherhouse in 1997. Sister Frances Gabrielle was an active community member and volunteer, often as a driving companion for the sisters.

Sister Frances Gabrielle is survived by her brother, John, and sister Gabrielle (John) Smith; nieces and nephews and her sisters in community. She was preceded in death by brothers Albert and Francis.

Read her Remembering.