Celis was born into a Creole family. At a young age he moved to the Guatemalan capital to receive the best possible education of the time. In 1794 he enrolled at the Tridentino School. On the 16 of August 1800 he received the rank of Bachelor of Medicine at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala from which he received his masters degree, finally graduating on 11-12 August 1802. His masters degree was partly achieved by his essays and new ideas for the treatment and evolution of gangrenous inflammations. He married Ana Andrade Canes, a relative of Jose Simeón Canes.
As a doctor he promoted the vaccination against smallpox in San Salvador. As a Creole he was aligned to the cause of the Independence of Central America from the colonial powers and joined the independence movement which reached a high on November 5, 1811 in the capital of San Salvador. Celis, active in the revolutionary movement against the Spanish domination, joined a further uprising on 24 January 1814. Two days later, Celis was captured and jailed in Fijo jail in San Salvador. He was incarcerated for almost three months but due to torture he received in prison, he died on 16 April 1814.