Sister Celinda Medina

February 21, 1925 – October 24, 2021

Sister Celinda Medina, OSB, 96, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, died Sunday, October 24, 2021, at the monastery. The funeral took place November 10, 2021, in St. Scholastica Chapel. Burial  followed in the monastery cemetery.

Patient and sweet-natured, Sister Celinda endured many years of disability with peaceful acceptance. She was born in La Jara, Colorado, on Feb. 20, 1925, one of the 14 children of Juan and Celina Romero Medina. She entered the Mount community in 1945 and recently celebrated 75 years of monastic profession. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Scholastica College, she obtained training in the Read-On program at Lone Mountain College in San Francisco and completed her Reading Specialist certificate at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She taught primary grades for 41 years in Kansas and Colorado, and received a service award for teaching over 25 years in Wyandotte County. From 1988 to 2000 she was the director of the Read-On Center at the Mount Community Center. A reading teacher par excellence, she delighted in the discovery of the power of the word by children and adults. Her tenacious dedication to help children learn was evident in her many hours of tutoring after school and on Saturdays.

Sister Celinda was preceded in death by her parents, by her brothers Adelmo, Teofilo and Gilbert Medina, and her sisters Louise and Marie Medina, Celina McFarlan, Sister Lucia Medina S.Sp.S., Sister Dora Medina, O.S.F., Sister Aurea Medina, O.S.B., Sister Joseph Mary Medina, D.C., and Sister Ramona Medina, C.S.J. She is survived by a brother, Luis Medina and a sister, Sister Rufina Medina, S.M.S.M. and by nieces, nephews and her monastic family. Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home  is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online at the Mount’s web site.

Watch the vigil held for Sister Celinda on November 9, 2021.

Watch the Mass of Resurrection held in St. Scholastica Chapel on November 10, 2021.

Reflection at the Vigil for Sister Celinda Medina

Sister Delores Dolezal, OSB | November 9, 2021

“There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for 12 years. “

Tonight we remember and celebrate gratefully and lovingly the life of our Sister Celinda Medina, a woman afflicted for over 20 years not with hemorrhages, but with an inability to walk and an inability to easily communicate with us. Rather than “touch our tassels”, Sister Celinda would raise her folded fingered hand and wave at us and beckon us to come and talk with her.  So often she was solidly asleep. But when she was awake, she was energized! She waved us into her presence.

Jesus told the woman:  “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” This Gospel woman was saved because of her faith. Where did she go? How was her life changed? What more did her faith accomplish? Did she continue to follow Jesus? We have no answers.

However, we do know how faith changed Sister Celinda’s life.   She told me: “I came on faith. I stay on faith.”

She committed herself to our monastic way – seeking a contemplative lifestyle. Like Sister Celinda, we desire an unconditional purity of heart. We strive to love God, to love one another, our friends, our employees, all peoples, all creation.

Loving comes at a cost for all of us. What a cost it was for Sister Celinda!  Her loving was totally humble surrender to God; a total acceptance of herself and her situation in life. “…in this tent we groan, and are weighed down …we walk by faith.”  Her faith was grounded in humility and a willingness to endure failure: a failure in achieving her goals in life; a failure in her ability to move and go where she wanted to go and to do what she wanted to do; a failure to share things in her heart, to share her wisdom, and even to express her sorrow.  “I came on faith.” she said. “I stay on faith.”

I once knew Sister Celinda as a very vibrant, creative, successful teacher. Her tack boards were colorful, magnificent, exact even to each pin point. I wonder now upon her death and ask: How did she struggle with the awareness of her new situation in life? Did she ask herself: “Who am I now?”  She knew she was God’s child.  Did she ask herself:  “Can God call forth a child that no longer has any meaning in life?”     

“I came on faith. I stay on faith.”

Sister Celinda’s faith gave her a new freedom to love and live!   She directed her love to the reality present to her. When she questioned the “meaninglessness” of her life, she did not evade it.  She faced it head on!  She was not even concerned about her nose that bothered so many. She chose a new meaning, seeking the full understanding of God’s will for her; God’s mercy and her absolute dependence upon God. She had an acute sense of her weakness. She lived it.

We walk by faith. Right now, here in this Choir Chapel, God is mysteriously drawing us toward our heavenly home. We can feel this while we are still in the flesh. We long for that fuller union with Christ after our own death.

The spiritual life is a commitment to faith. Well done, dear Sister Celinda, well done! You have competed well. You have finished the race. You have kept your faith. What more could bring you joy as you now know the power of God’s life! What more could you wish as you now live in the fullness of God’s love!!

You said, “I came on faith. I stay on faith.” Sister Celinda, your faith has saved you. We love you for it.