Joan Biebel would introduce herself with an instruction about how to say her last name. She would say, “It’s like Justin Bieber with an L instead of an R.” She would then proudly state, “I was the original J Biebs,” with a chuckle and smile. Mrs. Biebel just came to St. Teresa High School in Decatur in August of 2018.
She poured herself out to others whether it was a kind smile, an encouraging word, or an offer to help. The real place of impact that Mrs. Biebel had was on retreats, like Kairos. She had an ability to make people feel comfortable and always had the right words. She was a true joy.
She and I couldn’t get over the profound impact Kairos had. We were overjoyed when one of our faculty members, who participated in the Kairos retreat, asked to join the Catholic Church because his experience was so powerful. Mrs. Biebel was so excited that she could play any part in bringing a soul home to the church.
She recently went to the traveling statue of Our Lady of Fatima prayer service in Paris because of her devotion to the Blessed Mother, to be together with friends, but I believe to also thank God for working so much to move her students closer to him. The next morning, Mrs. Biebel died in a car accident on her way to work at St. Teresa.
This true disciple, this devoted missionary, this daughter of God, went home to be with God on March 20. She served well. She loved hard.
That evening, we had a vigil service to pray for the repose of her soul. The large room was full. All the priests from the area came. The faculty, staff, and students were there in great number. Our St. Teresa family was evident in its strength and unity in our belief in a loving God to whom we could offer our remembrance and prayers for this faithful servant.
May we love like Joan. May we be the fervent witnesses to Christ like she was.