Our Lady of Mercy Sister Marie Amelia Ferillo leaves behind a legacy in teaching
CHARLESTON—Sister Marie Amelia Ferillo, a Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, died at May Forest, the congregation’s motherhouse, on Aug. 31, 2016.
A vigil service was held at the motherhouse on Sept. 2 and the Mass of Christian Burial was held in the community chapel on Sept. 3. Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone concelebrated with six priests.
The Rite of Committal was held in Holy Cross Cemetery. Family and friends returned to the motherhouse for dinner and to share stories and memories of Sister Marie Amelia. Many commented on her legendary status at Bishop England High School, where she was a student and a teacher.
Sister Marie Amelia, formerly Margaret Ferillo, was born in Charleston on July 22, 1925, to the late Angelo M. Ferillo and Amelia Traynor Ferillo. A graduate of Bishop England, she received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Md., and in philosophy from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She also attended graduate studies in theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, and in philosophy at the Catholic University.
Sister Marie Amelia entered the convent on May 31, 1943. She professed her first vows on Dec. 17, 1945, and perpetual vows March 25, 1949. She became an educator who taught at the Cathedral School and St. Joseph’s School in Charleston, at St. Angela Academy in Aiken, St. Mary in Greenville, and at Bishop England in Charleston for 31 years. She also did catechetical work for two years in Englishtown, N.J. From 1988 to 2012, she served in the Hispanic Ministry of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Services on Johns Island. For the last four years, Sister Marie Amelia continued her ministry of outreach to others in need via the telephone. She was also a participant in the prayer ministry of the motherhouse community.
As an educator at Bishop England, she served on the High School Advisory Council, was chairperson of the Foreign Language Department, and was a member of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. In later years, Sister Marie Amelia was involved in Circulo Hispano Americano, Bishop England High School’s alumni association, and a member of the Migrant Farm Workers Task Force. In 2006, she received an award as Woman Religious of the Year from the South Carolina Council of Catholic Women.
Sister Marie Amelia is survived by her nephew, Charles “Bud” Ferillo Jr., and her cousin Frances Simmons, plus many other cousins, and her sisters in community.
Donations may be made to Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach Center, PO Box 607, Johns Island, SC 29457.