Tribute to Pat Irr, OSF

Anawim Arts is celebrating the life and mourning the recent death of Pat Irr, a member of our board and a source of gentle wisdom and encouragement for all of us. Pat engaged the mystery and beauty of the world through her love of photography – taking pictures as well as editing them through various art filters. In the coming days, we will be featuring more of her work.

From Arlene Ashack – When something powerful happens to me I turn it into a painting, a drawing, or a poem.  I wrote this after receiving the news of hospice for Pat.

The Gift of Pat

What a gift
To have met you

What a gift
To have experienced you

But what is the gift
You give

You recognize the other
You affirm the other

You offer the challenge
To deepen and broaden

The last insight
You shared was

“Everything is connected
And isn’t that good”

A woman of wisdom
And grace

Of integrity
And deep spirituality

She sparked me
And allowed me to soar

To become more of who
I’m meant to be

Being connected to her
Added so much to me

…and to us


The photo of Pat and the obituary are taken from the Wheation Franciscan website.

Sr. Patricia Irr, our beloved Wheaton Franciscan Sister, breathed herself fully into divine infinity, our source and sustenance, on April 14, 2023. Her life of 87 earth years was a prophetic blessing to and among all who encountered her. May we all continue to be blessed by her presence and our memories of her.

She was born September 25, 1935 in Buffalo, New York, to Mary Francis and Eugene Harry Irr, and was baptized and confirmed in Buffalo, New York. She was one among four siblings (all now deceased). Sister Pat was educated in Buffalo, New York in elementary and secondary schools and college. She received a Masters in Science from Saint Bonaventure University in Olean, New York and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois.

She wrote that, “I grew up in a devoted family. We celebrated our faith with liturgy, family togetherness, and good food. As a child, I always knew that I wanted to teach children. I was drawn to my high school teachers, the Stella Niagara Franciscans, who were excellent educators. I joined them right after high school. After many good years of teaching and formation work, I came to Chicago to participate in a spiritual direction formation program. After a year back in New York, I returned to Chicago as a mentor to international priests and religious at The Institute for Spiritual Leadership. I served there for 19 years. This is where I met the Wheaton Franciscans and grew to love their spirit. After months of discernment, reflection, and prayer, I began the process of transferring into the Wheaton Franciscans.”

As a member of the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, Sr. Pat embraced her love of spiritual direction ministry and became a beloved part of the Tau Center staff. Even with her latest illness she remained faithfully present among the many women and men she companioned in and with Franciscan love.

Whoever shared life and love with Pat, shall always feel blessed by her love and beloved memory. We are grateful she is one among us.

3 thoughts on “Tribute to Pat Irr, OSF

  1. Thank you so much for sharing her obituary with us. I felt connected to her spirit when reading about her life’s work. Sending love and prayers to all who were honored to call her sister and friend. God’s love and peace always, Kailyne

  2. A wonderful tribute to this extraordinary woman. We were blessed to have known her.

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