Sister Mary Olivieri began life on April 17, 1928, in Mansfield, Ohio, the first born of four children: Nick and Lucy, now deceased, and Rose, now Sister Rose, RSM, who resides in Fremont, Ohio, at St. Bernadine Retirement Home. Sister Mary’s parents, Joseph and Dominica, were both born in Italy and spoke only Italian in the family home. Mary’s early family life was enriched by Italian customs and culture as well as a deep faith shared by her parents. Mary and Rose fondly recalled their yearly trips to Carey, Ohio, for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary where they spent two days at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation. Maybe this parental devotion was the motive in naming their first born Mary.
Mary’s love for cooking was passed on by her mother who also taught her daughter the art of gardening. Her cooking skills have been appreciated by many of the Sisters with whom she lived. The faith life fostered in her family and her years at St. Peter’s School in Mansfield may have been the seeds of her call to become a Sister of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate. Arriving in Joliet in 1947 as a postulant, Mary’s dream was short-lived. Her mother’s illness made it necessary for her to return home to help with her younger siblings. After her mother’s death in August, 1948, she began working and even bought herself a car. Those who knew her well also knew about her love for driving! They would also know about her determination and decisiveness to do what she knew had to be done!