Sister Irene Zimmerman, SNJM
July 19, 1924 – October 1, 2010
Sister Irene Zimmerman, age 86, died on October 2, 2010. She was a vowed Sister for 67 years.
Genevieve Zimmerman joined six brothers and a sister to form a staunch Catholic family in Milwaukie, Oregon. While attending St. John’s school there, she came to know the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, and in August 1940, at age 16, entered their community and in 1941 received the name Sister Mary Irene. After vows in 1943, she taught, mostly primary grades, in schools in Portland, Hillsboro, Sublimity, Gervais, Verboort, and served as principal at Holy Trinity School in Beaverton.
In 1973 she started the process of transferring to the Sisters of the Holy Names, which was officially completed in 1975. She worked as the director of religious education at Sacred Heart parish in Medford, and as pastoral associate at St Peter’s in Portland and St. Paul’s in Eugene. As a pastoral associate she joined a group led by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon on a trip to the Holy Land, and several years later enjoyed a three-month session in Israel, sponsored by the Chicago Theological Union.
After retiring, she volunteered as a tutor at Rose City public school, and later worked with family groups. For years she had a special mission to Vietnamese children, helping them to get ready for school by honing their English skills.
Sister Irene is survived by her brother, Herman, of Bend, Oregon, nieces and nephews, and the members of her religious community.