Kathleen Mary Jones was born in Bagnalstown, Co. Carlow in May 1933. She was the youngest of nine children. Her early education was local and after her secondary education she worked in a hairdressing salon, rising quickly to be manager of a salon in Cork. But her attraction was not to the beauty industry but to a life of service to the poor and needy. Kathleen joined MMM in 1954, aged 21, taking the name of Sr. M. Celine.
After her First Profession of Vows, Celine was in charge of catering in the Maternity Hospital in Drogheda. At the same time, she studied typing and book-keeping, skills she knew would be useful in her future life overseas. After four years her desire was granted. She was assigned to Nigeria, Use-Abat, Anua and Ibadan where she worked as Sister in Charge and Hospital Secretary. During her time in Use-Abat, she was also given responsibility for the orphanage. This sparked her love of children, and this stayed with her throughout her life. Sr. Celine worked in Nigeria between 1961 and 1977.
Unfortunately, Celine’s missionary life in Nigeria was punctuated by a period of ill health. All through the years, Celine’s health has been delicate, but it never stopped her giving herself, heart and soul into any project she was involved in. When in Ireland she helped with promotion work, the Dublin Sale of Work and she even was assigned to the Apostolic Nunciature for several years in the 1980s. During these periods in Ireland, she upgraded her education with a Diplomas in Community Development and the Residential Care of Children and Young People.
In 1993, Celine’s health had improved, and she desired a return to overseas mission. A change of climate was advised, and so she went to Uganda and the community of Makondo. Here she ran a nursery school, looking after many orphans during the HIV/Aids epidemic. This doubled with social work in the school food project and housing aid. Makondo and its needs was never far from her heart and even on her eventual return to Ireland she ceaselessly fund-raised so that the work could continue. Throughout her life she was a great correspondent with many people, and they returned the correspondence and offered donations for the work at the same time. Sr. Celine was a very sociable, out-going person and many people remark on her kindness to them.
Sr. Celine returned to Ireland finally in 2011. For some years she was attached to the Bettystown community, offering hospitality to the Sisters who needed rest. When the house closed for repairs, she moved into the Motherhouse community and had an active retirement when her health allowed it, working in the Stamp Department, and visiting Aras Mhuire Nursing Home.
Sr. Celine herself transferred to Aras Mhuire in August 2022 and her health declined slowly. She died peacefully on 27th September 2023. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Drogheda.