Celebrating Sr. Celeste’s Resilience & Her Invaluable Contribution to Raising Awareness about Breast Cancer

Sr. Celeste & her famous Kolaches!

In the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, allow me to introduce you to the inspiring journey of Sr. Celeste Wobeter. Her story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, the power of early detection, and the mightiness of God’s Presence. Her message serves as a reminder to all women: scheduling your annual mammogram can be a life-saving decision. Her story is a beacon of hope.

Cancer! Never a word any of us want to hear! Around five years ago, I discovered a lump in my breast. Initially, I didn’t panic, as I had already undergone the removal of a couple of non-cancerous lumps in the past. However, this one felt a little different! I stayed positive, hoping and trusting the result would be the same as the previous ones.

After several x-rays and tests, my doctor verified that it was cancerous. Cancer! How could that be? That’s when the harsh reality set in, and I was shocked. Why is this happening to me? It was frightening and it was difficult to comprehend the potential implications. Suddenly, my life was turned upside down. I didn’t want to think about it! I just wanted it to go away, but it didn’t.

I first told Sr. Joy, with whom I lived. She was very compassionate and caring and supportive throughout the entire process. Soon I found myself surrounded with much love and care from my family, the Notre Dame Sisters, friends, and co-workers. I was fortunate to have an amazing powerhouse of prayer, ongoing care, and support throughout the treatment process! All revealed God’s loving Presence with me. Slowly, very slowly, I came to acceptance and peace.

My surgery date was set a few weeks post-diagnosis. Waiting was difficult. I just wanted to have it over with. The day finally came, and the surgery went well. The surgeon said I was cancer free! I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but I wanted to believe it.

When visiting my oncologist for the first time, she recommended that I have both chemotherapy and radiation. I was expecting some chemotherapy treatments but was shocked to learn I would need radiation treatments as well. This new information caused a little more turmoil and adjusting!

My chemotherapy treatments went well. I began to look forward to the cozy, warm blanket, a hot cup of chocolate, and the loving, caring staff. After 12 weeks of chemotherapy, I began radiation treatment. Throughout this entire process, regular visits with my oncologist were reassuring and hopeful. All my questions and concerns were responded to as normal and good questions.

Treatment was a long process. Fortunately, I was able to continue my ministry without any challenges. However, tiredness and less energy did become my reality during the last few chemotherapy treatments. I knew I needed to listen to my body and take additional time for rest. I learned so much during my treatment time and over the past years. Among them are:

  • Accept and process the feelings of fear, anxiety, worry, etc. These are normal.
  • Have someone with whom you can share these feelings.
  • Welcome support from family and friends.
  • Choose doctors whom you trust.
  • Ask any questions you have, even if they feel trivial.
  • Pray and trust in God’s loving and caring presence.

It has been a long journey! Looking back, I see it as a surprisingly gifted time. The ongoing prayers, love and support of the Sisters, and of my family and friends were my strength. Experiencing God’s loving Presence and care through them, I am able to see the gift of this experience of cancer.

– Sr. Celeste Wobeter, N.D.