A Trenton native is poised to take up the mantle of service in her religious order this July. Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia Celeste Crine will serve as assistant congregational minister of the order for the next five years, becoming a member of the four-person leadership team supporting newly elected congregational minister Sister Theresa Marie Firenze.

During an early morning phone call from her present assignment in California, Sister Celeste recounted her Trenton roots and decision to follow wherever the Lord would lead.

“I didn’t attend Catholic school but had exposure to the Sisters of Charity through my CCD classes as a child,” said the nun, a former member of the capital city’s Sacred Heart Parish. “I was in church one day trying to decide what to do with my life, and I heard a voice say, ‘Be a sister.’”

Already familiar with the creation-centered charism of the Franciscans, the future Sister Celeste entered the congregation in 1962 and made her first profession of vows in 1965 at the age of 21.

“It was very clear to me what I was called to do,” she said, “to serve God and God’s people. It confirmed what I thought all along.”

Sister Celeste earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Neumann University, Aston, Pa.; a master’s degree in spirituality from Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., and a certificate from the Institute of Religious Formation at St. Louis University, Mo. Her first assignment was as an elementary school teacher in St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft; after positions in Massachusetts and Washington state, she returned to the Monmouth County parish as pastoral assistant, ministering to a second generation of parishioners there.

Over the course of her career in ministry, Sister Celeste has served as pastoral counselor and spirituality leader in retreat houses. She fondly recalled her most recent assignment at the School of Applied Theology in Berkeley, Calif., where she led spiritual sabbaticals for religious and lay persons from all over the world who are in their second half of life.

Sister Celeste explained, “You meet diverse people and work with them on their spiritual journey. It is wonderful to see how we are led to listen and follow God’s lead. It gives us the peace and hope that all will be well.

“There are changes in the world, in the Church, in the family,” she continued. “We should be hopeful, hold deeper values, and guide them to a more peaceful place.”

Sister Celeste will begin her service next month at the order’s Our Lady of the Angels motherhouse in Aston, Pa., “ministering with and to the sisters to guide our congregation and learn how to aid the congregation to guide others. We are fortunate to minister and make a difference in the world,” she said.