Sister Irene Jasien, comes from Whitewater, Wisconsin. Her parents, Frank and Gladys had two girls and two boys: Gloria, Frank, Irene and Raymond. The family was challenged with difficult times and the four children grew up in the St. Joseph Orphanage (now Benet Academy). It was here that Irene came to know and love the Benedictine Sisters. They were her inspiration. They extended to the Jasien children such love that Irene decided she wanted to return that love and become part of the community.
When Irene was a junior in high school, the orphanage closed. She worked that next summer and then finished her senior year in high school as a postulant in 1957. Sister Irene (then called Sister Mary Anselm) began a decade-long career in teaching following pronouncement of simple vows in 1958. She took her perpetual vows in 1961.
A Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Loyola University and subsequent certification prepared Sister Irene for a teaching career that took her to Texas, Chicago, Wisconsin and back to Lisle. She worked with first and second graders during this period.
In 1972, Sister was approached by the pastor at St. James the Apostle in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (where Sister Patricia was then principal) to serve in the role of Pastoral Minister and to provide outreach to the parish’s sick and elderly. Sister Irene had found her true calling! She started a senior group in the parish and has been available to St. James parishioners with a caring, patient ear, wise counsel and comfort for over thirty years now! She has taught CCD classes, too, and has given over 20 years of her religious life sharing her gifts, educating young children and preparing them for First Communion. She loves her work visiting hospitals, taking Communion to shut-ins, comforting those in mourning, providing spiritual counsel to women and participating on many parish committees. Sister Irene modestly reflects that she believes she is a good listener which is critical in Pastoral Ministry. Of those parishioners that she interacts with she says, “Every day I take them to the Lord in prayer”.
Sister Irene has also been very involved here at the monastery on a variety of committees. She is now in training to take over responsibility for maintaining the Sisters’ important Archives. In her leisure time, Sister Irene enjoys water exercise in a local pool, walking and reading. She looks forward to life in the renovated monastery as an opportunity for the Sisters to draw closer together and to get to know each other again in a different capacity. She welcomes the opportunity to share the Benedictine hospitality with all of the new residents at Villa St. Benedict.