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A look at the life and ministry of Sister Agnes Celine Hammond

Sister Agnes Celine Hammond

Recently, Kathleen Boshold contacted us hoping to learn more about one of her former teachers, Sister Agnes Celine Hammond.

Kathleen wrote, “She was my piano teacher at Our Lady of Mercy in Chicago back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She prepared me and two of my older brothers for the love of music.”

She continued, “We were allowed to leave class once a week for lessons at the convent. I remember it being the way of my classroom teacher teaching me to tell time. I had to be able to know on my own the correct time to go for my piano lesson. I couldn’t be late.”

Kathleen, this week’s Throwback Thursday blog will take a look at the life and ministry of Sister Agnes Celine.

Sister Agnes Celine was born Ruth Margaret Hammond on November 16, 1907, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, which is an officially recognized neighborhood of Boston.

Her parents were named William A. and Mary Louise Shanley Hammond.

Sister Agnes Celine entered the Sisters of Providence Congregation on February 9, 1926. She professed first and final vows on August 15, 1928 and 1933, respectively.

Sister Agnes Celine graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with a bachelor’s degree in music education and taught for 49 years in schools located in Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina.

Sister Agnes Celine Hammond (center) with former General Superior Sister Mary Pius Regnier (left) and Sister Eileen Mary Cunningham in an undated photo.

Among her stops were St. John School in Vincennes in 1931, Sacred Heart School in Malden, Massachusetts, from 1946 to 1949, and Immaculata Preparatory in Washington, D.C., where she also ministered as a secretary, librarian and cafeteria cashier.

Sister Agnes Celine came home to the Woods in 1986 and began a ministry in health care, helping other sisters, until she began her ministry of prayer in 1996.

Known as “Aggie” in the Congregation, Sister Agnes Celine was said to be a quiet person who also spoke in a quiet tone.

In her commentary for Sister Agnes Celine, Sister Mary Eleanor Galvin (RIP) said that Sister Agnes Celine was always “faithful to her daily obligations … She never demanded nor expected anything special … Sister was gentle – and in her gentleness, she possessed strength.”

Sister Agnes Celine died on December 30, 1998. She was 91 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 72 years.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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  1. Avatar William P. Sullivan on March 23, 2019 at 10:58 am

    What a beautiful tribute to Sr. Celine… Sr Celine, as I knew her as a young man, was a cousin of mine on my Mom’s side of the family, the Shanley side. As I read the story above, this is exactly how I remember her; a soft spoken person with a very kind and warm smile who very much enjoyed our conversations about my own elementary school experiences at that time. I am from Malden, MA and I remember visiting her, with my parents, at the Sacred Heart Convent with her close friend Sr. Bernadette. She taught at the Chevrus Parochial School in Malden which was run by the Sacred Heart Parish. I have been researching and recording my family genealogy for nearly 30 years and I did a google search for St. Mary of the Woods and was fortunate enough to locate this site and so pleased to find this specific page… Thank you for remembering her with such thoughtfulness. Regards, Bill Sullivan

  2. Avatar Konrad Nagatoshi on May 15, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    I was a classical piano student of Sister Agnes Celine for four years, through seventh grade, at Our Lady of Mercy School in Chicago in the early 1960’s. In eighth grade, we had another sister for piano, since Sister Agnes Celine had been transferred out. She had been an absolutely first-rate teacher. Because of her, I participated in a serious piano competition in seventh grade in which I played a Chopin piano piece from memory. I did not win but it was a valuable experience. She also introduced me to a music teacher at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago (William Browning) with whom I would continue to study piano through high school and college on weekends. In college (Loyola University) and graduate school, though, I focused on anthropology and biology, obtaining my Master’s and PhD. from the University of Chicago. But to this day, I still play classical piano, including some pieces I first learned with Sister Agnes Celine. Our Lady of Mercy school no longer exists and the convent where I learned to play piano with Sister Agnes Celine has been demolished and is now a parking lot, but her influence continues to live on with her students. Konrad Nagatoshi, Ph.D.

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