At the spiritual center, things are usually a bit quieter. There Sr. Celeste keeps track of payroll, sends bills to the finance office in the east, and handles the weekly deposits and expenditures. She also leads a Taize service during hermitage retreats as well as during Advent and Lent.
Asked what she enjoys most about her ministry, Sr. Celeste is quick to respond. “The relationships! I have learned how important this is to me,” she said. “I enjoy hanging around in the vestibule between Masses to make connections with people or sitting with different groups for coffee and doughnuts after Mass. Friendships have been formed from a simple greeting. At the center I enjoy the conversations that come around the lunch table and other places.”
Another plus for her work at Ascension is the fact that the parish is staffed by the Franciscan friars from the Santa Barbara Province. That Franciscan connection began when Celeste was in fifth grade and St. Charles Parish in Spokane opened a school staffed by our sisters. She recalled her fifth grade teacher, Sr. Bertilla Morgan, who moved up with the class each year as a new grade was added. In high school Sr. Celeste joined the youth choir directed by Sr. Emma Holdener and recalled basketball games when students were “challenged” by Srs. Thomas Ann, Marie Inez, and Florence Leone. “We had so much fun!” she recalled. “I also spent hours in the classrooms helping the sisters. It was a wonderful group of people and I cherished our relationship.” That early Franciscan influence apparently had a strong impact on the Clavel children—three of whom became Franciscans. Sr. Celeste’s sister, Joanne, is a member of our congregation and her brother is a Franciscan friar. He actually ministered with her for a time at Ascension Parish!
Sr. Celeste is also active in congregational activities—especially when it involves planning or carrying out liturgies. She is often involved in liturgy planning for chapters, assemblies, and jubilees. She also assisted with the “Mother Francis Retreat” program and served on teams doing presentations in Tacoma, Spokane, and Portland as well as in Scottsdale, Arizona; Danville, California; and Little Falls, Minnesota.