Sister Celeste is one of 625 Medical Mission Sisters in 17 nations trying to be present to others in the spirit of Jesus the Healer.
Sister Celeste was born in Philadelphia, the oldest of 11 children. She graduated from West Catholic High School, and worked as a bookkeeper before joining our Community. She shares, “I am thankful for the special grace of being near Anna Dengel (our Foundress) herself…I learned of her deep appreciation for our benefactors and realized how our growth has been dependent on the generosity of others.”
After she made her Vows, Sister Celeste worked for 17 years in internal administration offices within our community. She was involved with the magazine/circulation department, was an assistant to the Superior at our North American Headquarters, and in charge of our house of studies in Washington, D.C.
With a desire to do social work, Sister Celeste completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at Temple University, then moved to Maryland in the mid-1970s. She recalls, “As a Social Worker, I was deeply and forever touched by the poor who came to me in the Baltimore Health Department.” After three years of service there, Sister spent six years coordinating development at St. Monica’s Community Center in an impoverished Baltimore neighborhood. During part of this time, she was also our Formation Coordinator.
When she returned to Philadelphia, Sister served as the Social Work Supervisor at Women of Hope, a residential program for homeless women, many of whom were mentally ill. “I related to the staff, residents, and professional consultants in an attempt to provide a life-giving milieu, where each resident could take the steps necessary to bring her to a little more wholeness.”
In the 1990s, Sister Celeste coordinated hospitality for returning and visiting Sisters at our North American Headquarters in Philadelphia. She remembers, “I experienced what I call ‘Fresh Internationality’ in the Renewal House.”
Sister Celeste’s recent ministries have involved teaching reading and English as a Second Language, and communication with groups advocating for justice. She shares, “I feel awe, joy and deep gratitude to God, and to all my dear companions on this journey.”
October 15, 2010