Sister Mary Cyrilla joined the Sisters of Mercy in Detroit, Michigan, in 1950 and made final vows on August 16, 1956. Her early years of ministry were in education, serving as a teacher and principal in several parochial schools. Children in Cheboygan, Manistee, Hemlock, Ada, Port Huron and Detroit benefited from her classes.
In 1971, Sister Mary Cyrilla became administrator of the Sisters of Mercy vacation home in Battle Creek, Michigan. She managed it with exceptional skill, as she welcomed all who came for needed rest.
After a year’s sabbatical, Sister Mary Cyrilla joined the staff of St. Joseph Parish in Battle Creek as a pastoral minister, giving special attention to the sick and elderly. This ministry quickly expanded to include most parish activities. Likewise, her years of service grew to nearly 40, until 2015, after which she remained as a volunteer until aging and illness required her full retirement.
St. Joseph’s Parish held a major celebration on her 60th anniversary as a Sister of Mercy in 2010. The parishioners commended this vibrant woman for all she did. They wrote, “She assists with baptisms, lectors at Mass, makes sick calls, instructs and counsels, takes food to the poor, can maintain the furnace, and polish the floor. She can lay tile, sew, repair and fix broken plumbing. She is also a parish chauffer, raises flowers for the church, sings in the choir, and plays the accordion.” The tribute also noted her “genuine warmth and a ready laugh that welcomes people to her.” In her honor, the parish center has been renamed the Sister Cyrilla Jegla, RSM Parish Center. To all of this she responded, “I have simply used my gifts.”