Remembering Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Jay Peregrine

By Jay Peregrine, Translation Committee, Michigan, United States

Editor’s Note: Irmeli served as an associate trustee of Urantia Foundation from 2007 to 2012. What a dynamo! Not only was she an energetic and motivated member of the board, she was also our resident ambassador-at-large. Irmeli loved to jet set the world and promote The Urantia Book and its teachings everywhere she went.

Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie (pronounced “Shirley”) was born on May 3, 1929, in Helsinki, Finland. She graduated there on November 28, 2021, at the age of 92. As a diplomat's daughter, Irmeli lived in many countries, giving her the prestige of completing her high school and college studies in six different languages.

After studying homeopathy in Norway, she brought the practice to Finland where she shared her knowledge through lectures at the Finnish Institute for Alternative Medicine.

Irmeli lived for many years in Brazil. She was married to an engineer, with whom she had three children. She earned a degree in chemistry from São Paulo State University and worked at Astra do Brasil. In later years she lived in Norway, where she had another daughter with her second husband. There she was in charge of clinical trials at a hospital in Oslo, Norway.

Irmeli was also a 25-year member of the board of the Viktor Frankl Institute, where she was known as “the godmother of Logotherapy.” To quote Dr. Alexander Batthyány, “She was the epitome of European elegance, education, style and individuality which is becoming increasingly rare these days. And wit!”

Irmeli found The Urantia Book in the early 1980s through longtime reader Nigel Hornby. She became a devoted student and was instrumental in promoting the book in Brazil, Finland, Norway, Hungary, and Germany.

She met Werner Sutter at a study group in Finland, and they dated until his passing in 2012. They bought a house in Freiburg, Germany, where she and Werner held a study group. When Das Urantia Buch was published, they found the Foundation’s book distributor, which we still use to this day! They traveled extensively around Europe promoting the book and attending book fairs. They even started a pan-European group for younger people called the “Blue Group.”

Irmeli had a personal interest in the Hungarian translation of The Urantia Book because the Hungarian-born woman who provided the financial resources for the first printing of Az Urantia Könyv was a good friend of hers. She helped promote it by participating in various book fairs in Budapest.

For the Brazilians, Irmeli played an important role in encouraging the printing of the Portuguese translation, and later promoted it in bookstores there. When visiting Brazil, she always participated in local study groups. She also sponsored several national Urantia meetings in Gonçalves, Minas Gerais, where her family owns a fazenda resort property.

Irmeli loved to dance. In fact, she once told me that she latched onto Werner because he was a good dancer. One of my fondest memories of Irmeli is the night a group of us enjoyed an evening of dancing at a nightclub situated on the top of a high-rise in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with views of the city stretched out before us. Another time a group of us spent an evening at a country dance hall in Dallas, Texas. It was quite something to watch a group of Finnish Urantia Book readers dancing cowboy style with Irmeli!

What Is Logotherapy?

Logotherapy is a therapeutic approach that is based on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. It’s a form of psychotherapy that is focused on the future and on our ability to endure hardship and suffering through a search for purpose.

Psychiatrist and psychotherapist Viktor Frankl developed logotherapy after surviving Nazi concentration camps in the 1940s. His experience and theories are detailed in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ~ Viktor Frankl, MD, PhD

Werner-Sutter, Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie
Werner-Sutter, Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie
Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie
Irmeli Ivalo-Sjölie

Foundation Info

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
© Urantia Foundation. All rights reserved