Benedictine Sister Jerome (Carol) Zerr, 72, a member of Queen of Angels Monastery, died April 28, at the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland. There will be a vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, in the monastery chapel in Mount Angel, and a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 5, followed by her burial in the monastery cemetery.
Sister Jerome was born July 11, 1944, to Peter and Elizabeth (Moffenbeier) Zerr in Portland. Following her father's death in 1957, her mother moved the family to Mount Angel to care for ailing family members and to be closer to Sister Jerome's brother, the future Abbot Bonaventure (Jerome) Zerr, who had entered Mount Angel Seminary. Sister Jerome attended high school at Mount Angel Academy and entered the Benedictine community on Sept. 9, 1962, a few months after her graduation. She made first profession on July 11, 1964, and perpetual monastic profession, July 11, 1969.
She graduated from Mount Angel College in 1969 and did graduate work at Portland State University and the University of Portland. She began her teaching career at Kennedy High School in Mount Angel in 1967, and also taught at Sacred Heart School in Portland. In 1977, while still teaching at Sacred Heart School, she began teaching at Central Catholic High School part time. She continued to teach theology and assist in athletics at Central Catholic until her death. Sister Jerome was a well-respected and beloved teacher in her service and dedication to the staff, parents and students of Central Catholic High School for 40 years.
She said of her years at Central Catholic, “Central Catholic develops a great sense of community. The most enjoyable part of my experience over the years has been watching the students grow and mature into young men and women. The advantage of working with the students academically and athletically is that I am able to view their growth and progress both in the classroom as students and in the field and on the courts as athletes.”
At the time of her 50th Jubilee of Monastic Profession in 2014, she said, "When I entered (religious life), my intention was to work for the Church," Sr. Jerome said. "The community gave me that opportunity by giving me the spiritual life and an education to be part of a teaching ministry. I feel that I have received so much more than I have ever given."
Sister Jerome is remembered for her love of the Church and her dedication to her students. She was an avid reader, a dedicated sports fan, especially of the baseball and basketball teams of Central Catholic, a wise and caring teacher, a woman of keen wit, and a devoted member of the Benedictine Sisters.
Sister Jerome had heart surgery on April 26 and died during her time of recovery.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Abbot Bonaventure Zerr of Mount Angel Abbey.
Sister Jerome is survived by her cousins, many friends, staff, parents, and students from Central Catholic High School and Sacred Heart Parish in Portland, and her monastic community, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel. Memorial gifts may be made to the retirement fund of the Benedictine Sisters, 840 S. Main St., Mount Angel, 97362 and to Central Catholic High School, 2401 SE Stark St., Portland, 97214.