Vocation Stories


Sr. Maryla Farfour, IHM

Maryla Farfour - Christmas“You’re there so much, I may as well get a cot for you to stay there,” my mother often said to me from the 4th grade to my 9th grade!

“There” was St. Mary’s convent; the home of the Scranton IHM’s who had come to Goldsboro in 1927 to open another Catholic School in the Tar Heel state of North Carolina, the heart of the “Bible Belt” in the not-so-Catholic Deep South.

Yes, I was often “ there” after school and evenings for piano and organ lessons, choir rehearsal, play practices, etc. and even some Saturday mornings when I was “chosen” to help polish the chapel candlesticks for special occasions.

I loved to be with the Sisters – they were always so happy, had a lot of fun and were so good to each other. A few times I thought I might like to be a part of that kind of life.

Then came public high school and a total change in my social life – gone were the thoughts of sharing a convent life!

After graduation, I worked as a secretary-stenographer for an insurance adjuster, a criminal defense lawyer and was hired by Civil Service for the legal department at the nearby air base.

In September of 1944, I went north to earn a college degree in music, continuing study with the IHM Sisters I loved and admired all my life.

After graduation in 1948 I joined the Marywood College faculty, lived with two other lay faculty members in a home on N. Washington Avenue, was very happy teaching in my chosen profession in an atmosphere and school I loved, enjoying a great social life – dating, dancing, traveling, finding time to volunteer and participate in local church and civil functions.

Then – FRUSTRATION! Several people – 2 priests, some sisters, a friend and even Bishop Hafey (then in Scranton who had confirmed me in N.C.) told me their belief that I had a vocation to the religious life and was running from it.

Restlessness, doubt, uncertainty, and indecision set it! My inner peace and happiness were disappearing! I had to leave these surroundings, get out of the area. I fled back home to get away from the questions and unrest.

With assistance from a priest friend, I came to understand the real question was “What is God asking of you?” “You cannot put a round peg in a square hole.” “True happiness comes from doing the will of God.”

After honest soul searching for about one and a half years; fervent prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary to help me know what I should do and the many prayers of others, I realized I was being called by God to serve His people as an IHM.

In 1952, I traveled north again, this time knowing full well what I was about – saying “yes” to the will of God! I have never regretted that decision!

I firmly believe that God used others to point me in His direction when I was so busily active about lesser things!

Sister Maryla currently serves as a prayer minister Our Lady of Peace Residence, Scranton, PA.

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