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In memoriam: Sister Celestine Rivera, OSF
July 26, 2021 4:57 PM

Sister Celestine Rivera, O.S.F. (92) died on Monday, July 26, 2021, at 10:45 a.m. at HSHS St. John’s Hospital, Springfield, IL.

Sister Celestine, the former Crescentia Rosanna Rivera, was born in Gibson, NM, on February 14, 1929, the daughter of Celso and Crescentia (Gishinbegay) Rivera. She entered the Congregation on January 30, 1951, and professed her religious vows on October 4, 1953.

Sister Celestine graduated from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1957. She earned an Associate Degree from Navajo Community College, Tsaile, AZ, in 1973, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ, in 1975.

Sister Celestine served as a nurse and nursing supervisor, specializing in OB and Surgical Nursing, at HSHS hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin; St. Isabel’s Mission in Lukachukai, AZ; Alverna Home Nursing Center in Chicago, IL;  Loretto Home at St. Francis Convent, Springfield, IL; and St. John’s TB Sanitarium, Springfield, IL. Sister Celestine was director of the health center and taught Maternity and Pediatrics at the Navajo Community College, Tsaile, AZ. She served as an Assistant Director of the Girls’ Dormitory and later as Receptionist at St. Catherine’s Indian School, Santa Fe, NM. Sister Celestine was also a missionary in San Timato, Venezuela. In 1998, she returned to St. Francis Convent and did various assignments until she retired.

She was preceded in death by her parents and three brothers: Edward, Joseph, and Leonard Rivera, and one sister, Mary Lewis. She is survived by two sisters: Louise Reed and Lillie Bernal of Gallup, NM, several nieces and nephews, as well as her Franciscan Sisters with whom she shared her life for 70 years.

Visitation will be held at St. Francis Convent on July 28, 2021, from 4-7 p.m. with a Wake Service at 6 p.m. The Eucharistic Celebration and Rite of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Father Dennis Koopman, OFM, on July 29, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. in St. Clare of Assisi Adoration Chapel at St. Francis Convent. Burial will be in Crucifixion Hill Cemetery.

To view her feature story from 2009, please click here.

Butler Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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