Barbara Ann Celeskey, SJ

1933 - 2011

     Sister Barbara Ann Celeskey, member of the Servants of Jesus since its founding, died on May 9, 2011 at Marywood Health Center, Livonia. Barbara was 78 years old and in the 60th year of religious life.

     Born April 4, 1933 in Detroit to Leonard and Josephine Celeskey, Barbara grew on the city's west side. She was a graduate of St. Casimir High School in Detroit and earned her BA from Madonna College (now University). Barbara went on to receive an MA from Notre Dame in math and a master's degree in Theology from St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth. She did post-graduate studies in Administration at the University of Michigan.

     Barbara entered the Felician Sisters convent in Livonia in June, 1951 and transferred to the Servants of Jesus in August, 1974. Her ministry included several years of teaching at Catholic Central High School in Toledo, Ladywood High School in Livonia and Madonna College.

     At Ladywood Barbara served as Principal for three years and at Madonna she held the position of Dean of Students. She also served for several years as a Pastoral Associate, both at St. Edith Parish in Livonia and Sacred Heart Parish in Grosse Ile.

     Highlighting Barbara's ministry was her appointment as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit by Cardinal Adam Maida. Barbara was the first woman and first non-cleric appointed to this position which she held from 1990-2006. Her ministry was marked by profound love of the Church, generous sharing of her special gifts of leadership and ability to bring creative solutions to numerous challenges. Barbara was especially concerned about the education and faith formation of youth and members of parishes in the Archdiocese.

     As a Servant of Jesus, Barbara was a visionary, a strong and caring leader and a prophetic witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Her love of music, good literature, board games, talk shows, movies and card games brought joy and a spirit of unity to the community.

     Barbara is survived by her brother Jerry; three sisters, Patricia (Norbert) Zapinski, Corinne Wiland, and Roni (John) Nantais. She also leaves many nieces, nephews and relatives who cherish her memory.

     A funeral mass was celebrated May 12 by Msgr. John Zenz at Our Lady of La Sallette Church in Berkley. Cardinal Maida offered the final blessing over Barb's coffin. She was buried at St. Hedwig Cemetery in Dearborn Heights.

Rest in peace, good and faithful Servant!