"Despair, and you give yourself to the shadows. Believe, truly believe in the Emperor of Mankind, and you shall walk in His light no matter how dark the path you tread."
- Saint Celestine
A mysterious Living Saint with incredible power, Saint Celestine is strongly implied to be the Emperor's
equivalent of a daemon prince. She is an angelic figure wreathed in light, best known for her ability to raise the faithful dead (including herself) back to life. She seems to be significantly older than she appears, as even Inquisitor Greyfax recognized her, and emprah knows how long that bitch was in Trazyn's museum. However, the complete and utter lack of knowledge of her days as a Battle Sister make it nearly impossible to estimate how long she's been around. She's described as being incredibly inspirational, her personality having the perfect blend of strength, charisma, and charity. Even Belisarius Cawl, a near-emotionless arch-magos, felt galvanized in her presence (and given how the Adeptus Mechanicus views the Ecclesiarchy, that's saying something).
Very little is known of her pre-Saint life, other than she was a Repentia of the Order of Our Martyred Lady and participated in the Palatine Crusade. After being apparently killed in battle, her body was recovered by her sisters, who found her wounds miraculously healed. Believing this to be a sign of the Emperor's blessing, they placed her in charge of the Imperial forces for the next days attack. After the battle was an unequivocal success, she rapidly rose through the ranks, leading the Imperium to victory time and time again against the heretics, becoming a beacon of inspiration in the process. While the Imperial forces were massing to attack the sector capital, Celestine left the main force, making a pilgrimage to a crypt on the world of Sanctus Lys, which legend said had once been visited by Saint Katherine.
On the dawn of the next day, she emerged from the crypt, wearing the Armor of Saint Katherine and wielding the fiery Ardent Blade. After this, she was officially declared a Living Saint and went on a heretic-roasting-rampage, first leading the Imperial forces to victory in the Palatine Crusade, and then onto several crusades and wars of faith after. While she had become an icon to Imperial forces everywhere, the Sisters of Battle held her in particularly high regard. This lasted until she got nuked on Forrax by a traitorous warmaster. After presumably burning him to a crisp, the Sisters of Battle were comforted by the fact that she was undoubtedly with the Emperor.
And that's when shit got weird. Sightings of Celestine began steadily increasing, typically arriving in battles when the forces of the Imperium were at their most desperate, and disappearing before the dust had settled. In particular, she seemed to have a thing for killing Daemon Princes.killing the daemon prince leading the chaos assault and throwing his body off the ramparts, Celestine started doing what she did best and inspiring the hell out of the beleaguered Imperial forces along with her new Geminae Superia bodyguards (twin Canonesses she'd resurrected during the previous battle). All the while she was receiving prophetic dreams, which she believed were from the Emperor warning her of a future danger. During the Battle of the Elysion Fields, she went toe-to-toe with Abaddon himself, and although Cawl's pylon shenanigans robbed her of the Emperor's blessings, she still managed to hold her own long enough for Cawl and Greyfax to join in and force Abaddon to retreat into orbit.
Following the demise of Cadia, Celestine was the one who convinced Cawl and the Black Templars to head down to Klaisus, using her previously mentioned dreams as a guide. She then led the survivors to the webway portal and on to Ultramar to resurrect Roboute Guilliman.
She later got savagely rekt by Khârn in Shroud of Night, who straight-up murdered her guards before chopping the bitch's head right off. Hell of a guy, that Kharn. Considering how casually he offed her, would that make him stronger than Abby? (Not really, since Abby stomped on her too on Cadia. He just wasn't aware Celestine would be back!)
On the Subject of Wings
A problem that plagued Celestine and sisterfags for years was the disparity between her model and her official artwork. Normally, when Games Workshop produces a new unit for a codex, they make the model first and then give it to an artist so that the picture matches the source material. This was not the case with Celestine, and the artist and modellers were working completely independently of each other. As a result, she had this awesome artwork portraying her as a magnificent angelic figure, and a miniature that had her floating with some cherubim holding her cape up. It even included an idiotic-looking mini-jump pack under the cloak. Thankfully, her new model does not have this issue.
On The Tabletop
Keywords: Character, Infantry, Jump Pack, Fly
In 8th edition, Celestine still remains one of the best Distraction Carnifex units in the game, plus she can Rip and Tear even better. Since she is a character, she and her unit cannot be targeted for shooting unless they are the closest target. Put a blob of Astra Militarum Conscripts in front of her and watch your opponent cry. Plus her new abilities give all Astra Militarum, Adeptus Ministorum and Adeptas Sororitas Shield of Faith ability +1 to invulnerable saves, (6+ for the former two and 5+ for the latter). Just like before, she can restore a Superia to life at the start of each of her turns and when Celestine herself is slain, she returns to life with full wounds on 2+. Also, Always take two Superia!
Offensively, Celestine is a beast. Her sword is +4 Strength, -3 AP and 2 damage while also being a Heavy Flamer. With 6 attacks, potentially 7 if she is your warlord, she is sure to deal some damage. Her two Superia also carry a Bolt Pistol and Power Sword each. But her real power is not on her weapons. It's in her ability to allow an additional Act of Faith per turn. Acts of Faith are really busted as is, so having two of them (albeit on different units) is x2 busted. Basically, Celestine can charge first turn due to Hand of the Emperor or fight twice each turn due to The Passion. Spirit of the Martyr is also useful to heal wounds on her or get both her Superia back at the same time.
Her main weakness is being toughness 3, thus wounded on 2+ by a lot of heavier weapons.
To sum up, the way to use Celestine is to point her at something and watch her wreck its face within a couple of turns.
Celestine is arguably the best Distraction Carnifex in the entire game. Seriously, it's nigh-impossible to put this bitch down. For starters, She's an Eternal Warrior with 5 wounds, a 2+ armor save, and a 4+ invulnerable save. In addition to that, she's got two 2-wound canoness bodyguards who have 3+ armor and share her invulnerable save. Should one or more of them die, one will automatically respawn at the beginning of each of Celestine's turns. On top of all that, assuming you actually manage to chew through 9 total wounds, she can resurrect with all wounds and res one of her bodyguards once per game with a successful leadership test.
Alright, so she's functionally unkillable, her offensive capabilities can't be great, right? Nope, with a S5 AP3 Armorbane sword/heavy flamer and the ability to call orbital bombardment, she can be a murder-machine as well. Add her ability to buff nearby Imperial units and you have one of the best HQs in the game. And the best part? She's 200 points. For less than any of The Big
Three Four, you get a unit that is nearly unkillable, and packs a decent punch to boot. Bring her to battles and send her straight at the biggest, scariest enemy unit. Even if she doesn't beat it, she's all but guaranteed to keep it tied down for the entire game. Her main weaknesses are deep strike mishaps, heavy assault troops, and "remove with no saves allowed" weapons, so be even more wary of those than usual.
Celestine with Cawl and Greyfax during the 13th Black Crusade