Obituary of SISTER IRENE BURZYNSKI, O.S.B.
SISTER IRENE BURZYNSKI, O.S.B.
On Saturday October 21, 2023, Sr. Irene Burzynski died peacefully at St. Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. Sr. Irene was born in Karazum, Kostopol, Poland on June 28, 1938 just before the outbreak of World War 11. Her parents were Bronislaw and Frances Burzynski. She was the older of two children, having a brother Andy, eight years her junior. Irene and her family were taken from Poland to Germany in 1943 and lived in several refugee camps until 1949 when they were accepted to emigrate to Canada under a contract to work on a sugar beet farm for two years in Lettelier, Manitoba. When the contract was completed the family moved to Winnipeg where Sr. Irene then attended Holy Ghost School.
Sr. Irene entered the Monastery of the Sisters of St. Benedict on August 22, 1957, and made her first Monastic profession on August 29, 1959, and perpetual profession on September 1, 1962. She was a prayerful, compassionate person. Throughout her life she identified most keenly with the Exodus story. The family had only one book in their possession in Germany. Her father taught Irene to read from the Bible. The exodus story always touched her and was her favorite.
Sr. Irene’s education included a bachelor of arts and bachelor of education in special education at the University of Manitoba; a master’s degree in special education from the University Of San Francisco; a spirituality CREDO program certificate from Gonzaga University, a spiritual leadership program in Chicago, and a master’s degree in pastoral studies at Loyola University.
Her ministries over the years embraced teaching in a public school in Winnipeg, a Catholic Separate school in Oyen, Alberta, and serving as a consultant to blind students in the Calgary Catholic schools for 20 years, ministering as a volunteer coordinator at St. Joseph’s Personal Care Home, Winnipeg. She served as director of personnel, sub-prioress and lastly prioress of the monastery for eight years. In the year 2008 when Irene’s term as prioress came to an end, she and a companion went on a sabbatical to Rome, Poland and Germany, tracing her roots and life experience as a child. Upon her return from her travels, she was appointed formation director and secretary-treasurer for the Sisters of St. Benedict, a position she held until her retirement.
Sr. Irene was preceded in death by her parents, her much beloved grandmother Elizabeth, grandfathers Martin and Felix, and uncles Fred and Andrew. She is survived by her Benedictine community, her brother Andrew and wife Jane, nephew Jeff, niece Kate and their families, several cousins and many co-workers and friends.
Sister Irene’s cremated remains will arrive at the Monastery just prior to a private Evening Prayer service on Thursday, October 26, 2023. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday October 27, 2023 at 11 AM at the Monastery Chapel, 419 Youville Street, with Father Richard Arsenault presiding. Sister Dorothy Levandosky, canonical administrator, will lead the private interment in the Monastery cemetery at a later time.
Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorial donations may be made to the Sisters of St. Benedict, 419 Youville Street, Winnipeg MB R2H 2T4.
The Sisters of St. Benedict express their gratitude to the ambulance and paramedic personnel who responded so promptly and graciously, as well as to the medical staff at St. Boniface Hospital Emergency for their compassionate care.