Sister Mary Celeste Riemen, MM

Born: October 6, 1894
Entered: February 1, 1922
Died: February 12, 1975

Sister Mary Celeste Riemen died peacefully at Bethany on February 12th at 5:50 a.m. She had joined the Bethany community in 1968 after an illness struck her. During the past seven years she remained a silent sufferer and could only communicate in brief but courteous phrases. Her health declined steadily until her death on the 12th.

Celeste Riemen was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 6, 1894. She entered at the Venard on February 1, 1922 and made her Final Vows at Maryknoll, New York on April 19, 1927. She was assigned to Hawaii in 1928 and went to Wailuku as Superior. In 1954 she received an assignment to the Philippines where she worked at St. Paul’s Hospital until the advent of WWII when she and the other Maryknoll Sisters were sent to the Internment Camp where they remained until released in 1945.

In 1946 Sister came to the United States as a Chapter delegate and after her return to the Philippines she helped oversee the construction of the new Maryknoll College in Quezon City. One of the Sisters who lived with her at that time noted that “she flew around the compound like a lass of 16. She knew every man on the job, kept all the accounts and kept her beautiful disposition as well!” During the next few years she was assistant to the Regional Superior, Regional Bookkeeper, as well as the supervisor of construction and maintenance of the Maryknoll College compound. Those who knew her note that she was interested in everybody and everything and had a special solicitude for the sick of the Region. Although Sister had a great capacity for work she was not unduly work-orientated; she was a woman of prayer, a community person, and one whom all in the community loved.

Suffering from illness, Sister returned to the United States in 1966 and remained in Chicago for a year. She was then assigned to the Center and helped out in the local Bursar’s office until she went to Bethany in 1968.

This evening – Maryknoll’s Foundation Day — the Office of Eternal Life will be recited at Bethany at 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, February 15th at 11:00 a.m. the Mass of the Resurrection will be offered for Sister Celeste, — the main celebrant will be her nephew, Father Edward Stieglitz.

Let us offer the Eucharistic Celebration in thanksgiving to the Lord for the beauty of Sister Celeste’s life among us and ask Him to grant her peace, joy and everlasting life.