Vocation Stories


Sr. M. Alphonsa Concilio, IHM

Come and See

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a question often asked of children by adults. I don't remember any such question in my case but I would have been able to respond by the time I reached seventh grade. It was then that I first felt the call to religious life. Being raised in a typical Catholic family in which Catholic education was how my siblings and I were introduced to the ABC's etc., admiration for the nuns came easily. I really loved school, loved learning, loved helping the sisters and loved staying after school and being in the classroom alone where I could imagine it was my classroom. The sisters who staffed my elementary and high schools were the Sisters of St. Joseph from Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. So how am I writing my vocation story as a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary?Alphonsa Concilio - SC-1

I think that the blame – or praise – for that belongs to my father and one of my friends. My father was a typical Italian father of the time. Not typical in that as the son of immigrant parents he had a university education, but typical in the attitude that women did not need a college education for marriage.

However, since he was aware of my desire for religious life he said that IF I earned a scholarship he would send me to college. I didn't want to apply to Chestnut Hill because I was sure that the scholarship would be mine because the sisters knew of my desire. A friend of mine was attending Marywood and suggested that perhaps I should apply to that school. Her advice was taken and then I think the Lord stepped in – at least when I was trying to decide which congregation was for me – the fact that I was next in line for a scholarship and received one when the first recipient turned it down, was definitely God telling me that I should enter in Scranton. The clincher was that the person who rejected the award eventually attended Marywood.

My stay as a student at Marywood lasted one year for I entered the novitiate the following September. I loved the sisters in the college especially my piano instructor, Sr. Marie Cecilia. My years in the congregation have been wonderful, exciting, and blessed. I had the good fortune to spend ten years in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I saw much of the country and attended several universities while there.

Then the congregation requested that I take a new path musically. I began to study voice and eventually came to Marywood. Much to my surprise this bend in the road has been truly a blessed one and at this time in my life I live in constant gratitude to God for His many graces and blessings as I continue to serve Him with great joy.

Perhaps you, too, have heard the invitation to "Come and see." Don't miss the chance!

Sister M. Alphonsa currently gives private music lessons to students, and is on the support staff at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA.

Alphonsa Concilio - SC-2
Above, Sr Alphonsa draws a ticket from the barrel at a Silver Circle drawing at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.