Sr. Antonietta is the third child in a family of nine children. She was born in Pianura, Naples on October 13, 1937 to Romualdo Cioce and Rosa Polverino from whom she learned about God and the personal responsibility in executing his plans for each one of us.
She also cherished a dream, but her dream was very rare and an unusual one. She didn’t want to become famous, rich or powerful. Rather, she always thought about making her life meaningful to many people. She never spoke about accumulating wealth. Instead, she seemed to be consumed by the desire of giving herself to others.
Antonietta was a girl of prayer and work. True to her nature she prayed and worked diligently while awaiting a sign from above. So, sixty years ago, she asked her father’s permission to become a Vocationist Sister. Her father hesitated to grant her request. He was afraid of embarrassment in case of failure on her part. He did not think it wise for his daughter to join the Sisters at the age of 15. Her parents were very happy and they never thought that an attracted girl, full of life such as Antonietta, would commit herself to a life of total dedication to others.
In Pianura, she visited the Vocationist Sisters daily, and from them she learned about the Vocationist Sisters’ spirituality and charisma. She was only 13 years old when she started her spiritual journey under the direction of our beloved Fr. Giovanni Galasso, a Vocationist Father and successor of Fr. Justin who helped her grow in her spiritual life. She confided in him and trusted in his wisdom.
One day her father was troubled by doubts about her vocation, so he went to Fr. Justin for advice. Before starting to talk, he heard Fr. Justin saying, “Have no fear to give permission to your daughter to follow her vocation. She will be a good sister because hers is a true vocation.” Her father added, “I only hesitate because of her young age.” Fr. Justin continued, “Fear not, you will be blessed and proud of her decision.”
When Antonietta’s father was leaving, Fr. Justin added, “Romualdo, don’t worry about her dowry. I will tell my sister Giovanna. She will accept her without any dowry.” Romualdo replied: “No, it is not about her dowry. It is about her young age that I am concerned.”
Two months later, on December 28, 1952, Antonietta joined the Vocationist Sisters in Pianura, Naples. At the end of her formation from Mother Giovanna and Fr. Justin, Jun 5, 1954 she pronounced her vows and received the veil from the very hands of our founder, Blessed Justin Russolillo.
Sr. Antonietta was now ready to give herself without limitations and to be a witness of God’s love and mercy to those whose lives she touched. After completion of her specialization in Education in Rome, she asked Mother Giovanna Russolillo for permission to go to Brazil as a missionary. She was assigned to Ouro Fino, MG Brazil where she remained for 14 years as Novice Mistress and Superior of the community.
On September 9, 1982 Mother Josephine Rosato asked her to come to the U.S.A. to join the Vocationist Sisters in Newark. Once again, Sr. Antonietta had to face a new language and had to go back to College in order to get the American qualification. This was difficult for Sr. Antonietta and the change was painful. With God’s help and her strong determination, however, she accepted God’s will and has tried to make Fr. Justin’s words a reality.
In 2003 she was transferred to Palisades Park as Superior of the community until the present. She also serves at St. Nicholas Parish and the “Buon Pastore” Italian Bible Study Group that meets once a week. She is still actively and joyfully serving the Lord in his people.