ALLEGANY – On a mild February morning, about a dozen girls circled around the Franciscan nun on the Reilly Center court. They had a basketball game that night, and they wondered if she wouldn’t say a prayer with them. With a big smile on her face, she led them in the Hail Mary.
Then she signed a few autographs.
Sister Miriam Cecil cut an unusual celebrity figure, but her popularity among the 100 or so high school girls rivaled Mia Hamm’s that day at St. Bonaventure University’s annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, when she was honored for her 16 years as a professional baseball player in the 1920s and ’30s.
At 96 years old, she’s small in stature, a little on the thin side with a slumped shortness that naturally comes with old age. Her simple brown habit drapes over some still good muscle tone.
Old, yes. Frail, no.