The fight to maintain religious liberty in our country is not something a Polish immigrant sister takes for granted. On February 10, 2012, Sr. Joachim Celinska, OP, became a US citizen. Born in Communist Poland, her parents nonetheless raised their children in the Catholic faith. Not surprisingly, Sister loved Pope John Paul II and prayed his vocation prayer every day not realizing that God was personally calling her to a life dedicated in His service.
She entered the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in 1987 and came to America in 2000. Not knowing the language made it difficult for her at first but she found the people friendly and the land beautiful. She and another sister care for the sick, teach religion classes and help families in Mountain Home, Arkansas, which by Sister’s description sounds like a little bit of heaven on earth.
In the Arkansas Catholic newspaper, Sister Joachim said, “This year, I’m going to vote for the first time. America is a beautiful country. God really loves this country because he’s given freedom. We know what it’s like to live under oppression. I wish and pray for all American people to take advantage of that freedom and thank God for freedom of religion, so they can express their faith freely.”
The Order to which she belongs, the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, is an IRL Affiliate founded in by Mother Maria Kolumba in 19th century Poland. They engage in various ministries in three major areas: evangelization, education, and health care. In the last two years, 15 novices made their first profession in their congregation worldwide. Two of them were received here in the U.S., for the American Province. Besides Mountain Home, the sisters have convents in Illinois and Wisconsin.