Sister Cyrilline Biel, 86

Sister Cyrilline Biel, 86, entered the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius in 1950. The community’s motherhouse in Danville, Pennsylvania, was a long way from her childhood home of Whiting, Indiana. “I’d never seen any mountains until I came here,” she remembers. But she was familiar with the sisters, who had been her teachers in elementary school. After visiting a friend who was already part of the congregation, she made the decision to leave her job and pursue religious life.

Sister Cyrilline ministered as a teacher for more than 32 years, including some 24 years at the high school level. “Working with young women and seeing them mature, that was a joy in my life,” she says. Sister Cyrilline also served as novice director for six years. “Serving in the novitiate was a special time because I felt the Holy Spirit was always with us,” she recalls. She was elected to her community’s leadership team twice, serving as a general councilor for two eight-year terms.

After 66 years of religious life, Sister Cyrilline greatly values living in community. “The prayer and the days of retreat we have as a community are very fulfilling,” she explains. “They intertwine with my work.” She considers herself semi-retired, although her days are certainly full. She volunteers as a driver, works at the reception desk, and is the local treasurer for the community’s motherhouse. In her “spare time,” she likes to knit caps for needy children and prayer shawls. She can often be found visiting members of her community who are ill.

“Staying busy—that’s what makes life wonderful,” says Sister Cyrilline. “I don’t even have time to think; I just go! But when I had my 60th jubilee, I looked back and thought, ‘I really lived all those years. I’ve had a full and happy religious life.’”