A funeral Mass for Sister Celly Ann Amparano was celebrated Oct. 22 at Theresa Center Chapel at Ripa in St. Louis. Sister Celly Ann died Oct. 16 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She was 71 and a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
The third of four girls, she was born to Mercedes (Castro) and Manuel Amparano on Dec. 21, 1947, in Fresno, California. She was baptized on March 21, 1948, at St. Therese Church in Fresno and given the name Celly Ann. When Celly Ann was 8 years old, her maternal grandmother came to live with them. Her parents were religious, and her grandmother made sure that the girls said their prayers at bedtime. The children would often fall asleep listening to their grandmother praying the Rosary.
During her youth, she worked in the fields picking figs and cutting grapes to make money for school clothes. She graduated from Fresno State College in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in social science. She then obtained her California teaching credential in 1975.
The next school year, she began teaching at St. Helen School in Fresno where she met the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The following summer, she drove to St. Louis with Sister Nancy Flamm and participated in the GIFT program in New Madrid, Missouri. This experience of prayer, community and sharing brought great peace to her, and she realized that she was being called to become a religious sister.
She entered the postulancy on Sept. 4, 1977, and lived in community at St. Bernadette Convent for four months. On Jan. 23, 1978, she was received into the novitiate and lived at Sancta Maria in Ripa in St. Louis. She made first promises on July 1, 1979, and final vows on Feb. 21, 1985, at St. Helen in Fresno, California.
Sister Celly Ann taught junior high students at Holy Angels in East St. Louis; and in Los Angeles, California. She was principal for 33 years in Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Linn and Frankenstein, Missouri.
In 2014, she became a consultant for the Hispanic Outreach in the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri for two years. She was in music ministry at St. Peter in Jefferson City for one year and then became a certified medical interpreter at El Puente in Jefferson City. In this role, Sister Celly Ann helped people who did not know English to communicate with doctors and health care providers at appointments and hospital visits.
The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Sister Celly Ann learned Spanish at home and as a School Sister of Notre Dame, was very proud of her Hispanic heritage. Using her Spanish skills, she was able to journey with people who needed to feel respected, and she encouraged them to reach their potential.
Sister Celly Ann is survived by three sisters; Anita Hoth of Alta Loma, California, Mary Gonzales of Las Vegas, and Gloria Amparano of Fresno, California. Burial was in Sancta Maria in Ripa Cemetery.