As college sophomore at University of Detroit Mercy, Irene Herbst, RSCJ, experienced a life-changing moment at a mass one evening. “I heard Jesus calling me to religious life during thanksgiving after communion,” she recalls. In the quest to further understand the nature of this call, her spiritual director at the time connected her with a local group of RSCJ. There, she met Mother Wansboro, who mentored her throughout her remaining two years at college. Soon before graduation, she visited Kenwood, where she had the chance to gain further insight into the Society’s charism by meeting 80 RSCJ. With further affirmation that she belonged in the Society, she joyfully responded to God’s call and entered the order in August of 1958. She made her first vows in 1961 and made her final profession in Rome in 1966.
Since becoming an RSCJ, Sister Herbst has taught in Sacred Heart schools for more than 50 years. She has served in several locations, including Albany, Rochester, Buffalo and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. “My ministry as an educator in Network schools allows me to teach and model God's unconditional love for His people and all creation.” Currently, she works at Villa Duchesne, in St. Louis, where she has served as an educator since 1985.
Sister Herbst’s personal mission statement is, "As a Religious of the Sacred Heart teaching in a Network school, I will serve as a role model for a personal and active faith in God. I will educate according to the Five Goals of Sacred Heart schools, stressing their importance in a student's growth as a well-rounded person. Also, I want to empower my students to affirm the belief that there is meaning to life, thereby fostering a sense of hope and a desire to work for peace and justice, wherever they are." Her personal goal is to continue to grow as a contemplative in action, with a deep faith, a strong hope, and a generous love.
Sister Herbst earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from the University of Detroit and a Master’s Degree in History from Manhattanville College.