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In Loving Memory of Sister M. Gabriel Lazarski

Birth date:  January 10, 1926

Entered into Religious Life:  February 2, 1947

Born Into Eternal Life:  January 9, 2023

“There is nothing that God loves more than people who are at home with Wisdom.”  (Wisdom 7:29)


Irene Anna Lazarski was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 10, 1926, and was baptized a couple of weeks later on January 24 at Five Holy Martyrs Church. She was the daughter of John and Frances Lazarski both of whom were immigrants from Poland. John and Frances were married at St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church in Chicago on August 25, 1920. They had four children. Irene, the third child, had two sisters and one brother. 


Irene attended Five Holy Martyrs School and graduated from there in 1940. While attending grade school Irene received the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 1, 1940, and took the name of Judith. From 1940 to 1942 Irene attended Kelly High School until she transferred to Jones Commercial High school, graduating from this institution in 1944. 

On February 2, 1947, Irene joined the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago and later that year on August 12, she entered the novitiate and received the name of Sister Mary Gabriel. Two years later, Sister made her First Profession of Vows on August 12, 1949, and her Final Profession on August 12, 1954. 

Sister didn’t begin her career in education until 1949 when she went to St. Florian School in Chicago, Illinois to teach the 2nd grade. During the next 20 years, Sister taught various grades at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyrs in Chicago, Assumption in New Chicago, Indiana, St. Louise de Marillac in LaGrange Park, Illinois, Blessed Sacrament in Gary, Indiana, St. Joseph in East Chicago, Indiana and at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary, Indiana. In 1969, Sister became the principal at Five Holy Martyrs.  She served in this capacity until 1974 when she was elected to the General Council of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago serving two terms in this capacity from 1974 to 1983. She was also Local Minister at the motherhouse (Our Lady of Victory Convent in Lemont, Illinois) from 1977 to 1979 and then the Local Minister at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyrs from 1979 to 1982. While at St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyrs Sister was also the assistant principal for a year, principal for a year and she also served on the school board and parish council and was a board member at Madonna High School.

During her years in education, Sister M. Gabriel received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Saint Joseph’s College in Renssalaer, Indiana (1964) and a Master of Education degree from Loyola University in Chicago (1983). 


In 1985 Sister embarked on a new career as Director of Mission Effectiveness at St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point, Indiana.  She remained in this capacity for two years until she was appointed Novice Director and moved to Lemont in 1987.  After three years as Novice Director, Sister returned to Five Holy Martyrs in Chicago, IL where she was the Local Minister.  Sister was also the Director of Religious Education and a volunteer at Port Ministries,


In 1991 Sister went to St. Pancratius School in Chicago to finish the school year when one of the teaching Sisters couldn’t complete the school year. A year later Sister was assigned the position of Director of Mission Integration at St. Joseph Home in Chicago, IL, a position she held for nine years. In 1993 Sister was appointed the Local Minister and she remained at St. Joseph Home for 13 years.  In 2006 Sister moved to Madonna Convent where she served as the Local Treasurer for three years.  During this time she was also a Resident Visitor at St. Joseph Village.


On October 26, 200,9 Sister M. Gabriel came to live at Our Lady of Victory Convent in Lemont, IL.  She performed various tasks for the next three years until she moved on January 26, 2012, to the motherhouse infirmary. In 2013 Sister was the recipient of the Franciscan Federation Peacemaker Award for her ability to see the interconnectedness of all creation, particularly in the intimate connection between the fruits of Mother Earth and the health of the human body. 


In the 75th year of religious life and at the age of 96, Sister M. Gabriel peacefully entered into eternal life at 3:17 p.m. on Monday, January 9, 2023, to be with Jesus whom she loved and served with all her heart. 

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