In honor of Sister Celeste Lynch, an endowed nursing scholarship has been established at the St. Mary’s School of Nursing to provide recipients the opportunity to advance their education in the field of nursing
In 1924, the Bishop of the Wheeling Diocese invited the Pallottine Missionary Sisters to open a hospital in Huntington, WV. They were already operating Sacred Heart Hospital in Richwood, WV and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon, WV. The Bishop offered them an abandoned school for boys in Huntington which they converted to a hospital. By 1926 the Sisters needed help in caring for the patients so they opened St. Mary’s School of Nursing.
Over 85 years later, St. Mary’s School of Nursing holds the distinction of being the oldest nursing program in West Virginia, boasting over 3,500 graduates. The school is still owned and operated by St. Mary’s Medical Center.
After graduation from high school in 1942, Mary Lee Lynch enrolled in St. Mary’s School of Nursing to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. She learned of the school from the Pallottine Missionary Sisters who came to her hometown to teach at her parish summer school of religion. After enrolling in the School of Nursing, she was so impressed by the example of the Sisters that she decided she wanted to become one of them. She entered the community in February, and in August received her veil, taking the name Sister Mary Celeste Lynch. Two years later, she made her first profession of vows as a Pallottine Missionary Sister and returned to St. Mary’s School of Nursing to complete her nursing education. While there, she earned her BSN at St. Louis University and MSN at The Catholic University in Washington, DC
During her long career, Sister Celeste served as a staff nurse, head nurse and supervisor at both St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington and Sacred Heart Hospital in Richwood, WV. She was appointed Director of St. Mary’s School of Nursing in 1959 and remained in that position for 17 years, holding the position longer than any other director.
Sister Celeste moved to Florissant, MO in 1976 after she was appointed Director of Postulants for the Pallottine Sisters. She served in that capacity until she was elected Provincial of the North American Province of the Pallottine Missionary, where she remained until 1995. Sister Celeste then assumed the full time position of President of Pallottine Health Services, the parent corporation of St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon. She served another 17 years in that position before retiring in 2012.
Your contribution to the Sister Celeste Lynch Memorial Scholarship provides a foundation for the endowment of what will be a perpetual scholarship award.
Employees of St. Mary’s Medical Center and their affiliates are encouraged to donate through payroll deduction.
Your gift is very much appreciated.
The recipients of the scholarship will be selected based upon who best reflects the values and characteristics of Sister Celeste, so that her legacy will continue for generations to come.