Vocation Stories


Sr. Mary Pio Ferrario, IHM

FerrarioMaryPioMy name is Sister Mary Pio Ferrario. I was born into an Italian Catholic family on June 17, 1941, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four children. When my father enlisted in the Army during World War II my mother and I moved to an apartment in her parents' house. I attended a nearby Catholic elementary school staffed by the Sisters of Saint Casimir. My mom insisted that I attend Religious Education classes on Saturday morning at our parish, as well.

In December of my sixth grade our family moved to Dunmore, Pennsylvania. In September I started at Saint Mary's School in Dunmore, staffed by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton. It was during the seventh grade that the first stirrings of a religious vocation began.

I attended Marywood Seminary for high school. It was an all girls' school conducted by the IHM sisters in their motherhouse. The idea of a religious vocation blossomed during those years. Everyday I watched the novices and postulates around the motherhouse grounds. I am sure it was God calling me to Himself through them.

Early in my senior year I finally confided in my favorite Sister that I thought I wanted to be a Sister. I wasn't sure why, but I knew I had to try it. In the spring I started the application process. My parents were supportive of my decision. They only asked that I be sure of my motives. I wasn't sure, but I knew I had to do it.

Entrance Day was September 8, 1959. It was an exciting day. That night as I looked up from my bed at the ceiling and the white curtains which surrounded my bed, I wondered if I had done the right thing.

I spent the next five years living in the IHM Motherhouse on the campus of Marywood University as a Postulant (1 year), a Novice (2 years), and a Junior Sister (2 years). In May, 1964, I received my Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from Marywood College. The following September I began my teaching career. In May 1973, I earned a Master's Degree in Secondary Counseling from Marywood College.

Through my forty-six years in Education I have taught mathematics in several high schools in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Hawaii. The past ten years I have also been a freshman guidance counselor in two high schools in addition to teaching.

When my father died in August, 1992, I was allowed to move in with my mother to provide the care she needed. I was able to continue teaching while living with her in Dunmore. She died in February 1994. I continued to live in our family home for another year and a half, but I missed community living and moved to a convent in Scranton in September 1995.

As I look back on these years as an IHM, I am filled with deep gratitude for my vocation. My Father chose me and has given me so much. Recently I have met many former students who have been successful in their lives. It makes me happy to know God has used me to help them.

Sister Mary Pio currently serves as a guidance counselor and teacher at Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Mary Pio - Sisters at St Mary Avoca
Photo above taken at the dedication of a marker in honor of the IHM Sisters who served at St. Mary's School  in Avoca, PA, from 1921-1984.
Front, L - R: Sisters Patricia Hauser, Maria Goretti Timperio, Ann Marie O'Brien and Mary Pio Ferrario.  Back, L - R: Sisters Catherine Ann Gilvary, Ann Marie McDonnell and Jane Mary Duke.  Also pictured, Reverend Phillip Sladicka.