Feb 7, 1924 ~ Jan. 3, 2024
Marlborough – Born in Amesbury, MA, Irene was the daughter of Alphonse and Germaine Ledoux whose first spouses had died of the influenza epidemic of 1918. Her siblings from the three marriages were Alice, Beatrice, Homer, Alphonse and Charles. The children never lived all together, but were very close at heart.
When she was eight, the family moved to Ashland where both parents found work. They attended St. Cecilia Church where they were fervent parishioners. In 1938, Irene attended the Juniorate program at St. Chretienne Academy in Salem where her aunt, Sr. Norbert, was a teacher. Having a strong sense of God’s call, Irene entered the Novitiate in Quebec, pronouncing her first vows as a Sister of St. Chretienne on August 15,1943.
Sr. Germaine, as she was now called, began a long career as a teacher on the primary level in the parish schools staffed by the Sisters. Until 1984, she taught in Rumford and Mexico ME(for 32 years) and in Pawtucket RI, Ipswich MA, and at St. Chretienne Academy in Salem. In her own words: “I loved preparing the children for their First Communion and seeing the joy on their faces in receiving Jesus. In my classes, I was always mission-minded, telling the children about our missions in Alberta and Africa.”
After forty years of teaching, she earned a certificate as a nurse’s aide, working a year in a nursing home in Swampscott and then in the Sisters’ infirmary in Marlboro.
In 1989, she was invited to Ruskin FL with Sr. Margaret Ebacher who was to direct the religious education program in St. Anne parish. Irene became the sacristan where she made beautiful banners for the church. There were many migrant families in the parish working in the tomato fields.
Sr. Irene would forever be moved by the great faith and generosity, as well as the suffering, of these hardworking people. In 1995, she was missioned back to Marlboro to join the retirement community where she did sewing for her Sisters. She had also discovered a talent for needlepoint, making beautiful inspirational bookmarks that she was still crafting until recently.
One of her greatest joys was celebrating her 75th Jubilee in her home parish of St. Cecilia’s five years ago. Sr. Irene had been hoping to reach her 100th birthday but died in her sleep just a month short.
Having said a generous “Yes” to God in her youth, she served Him in His people with all her heart. She loved her Sisters and her congregation, and always remembered and prayed for her students.
Her Sisters and family are grateful to the nurses and personnel at Marie Esther for their care and devotion to Sr. Irene. She is much loved by her Sisters at St. Chretienne, by her many nieces and nephews, their families and her former students. Surely the Lord has welcomed her to Paradise: “Come, blessed of my Father; inherit the Kingdom prepared for you since the beginning of the world.” Mt 25:34.
Visitation and funeral Mass were held was Tuesday, January 9 at the Sisters Residence, 720 Boston Post Road East, Marlborough.
Slattery Funeral Home of Marlborough assisted with arrangements.