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Born in Castle Shannon, PA, Sister Carole Riley was raised in Zanesville, Ohio. She began piano at the age of five with her Uncle Thomas Daube and later studied with the Sisters of Divine Providence, the Congregation which she joined. The international Congregation provided extensive experiences for "Sister Mary Patrick," as she was known while she was teaching elementary and secondary school classroom music, band, and high school chorus, before beginning her piano teaching career at Duquesne University. While earning her degrees in Music Education and Piano Performance, Dr. Riley concertized in the tri-state area and was a frequent collaborative pianist with musicians in the Pittsburgh area.

After serving as Chair of the Piano Department and Assistant Dean, she was offered and accepted a joint appointment with the McAnulty College of Arts and Sciences as Executive Director of the Institute for Spirituality. In this capacity, Sister Riley taught internationally in eight African countries, Thailand, areas of South American, Europe, North American, the Solomon Islands, and Australia. Music performances and lectures in spirituality contributed to her being awarded the Emil Penet Award for Innovation in Spiritual Formation by the National Conference of Religious Formation. She was subsequently designated as a Distinguished Alumni of her alma mater, Duquesne, and was inducted into the Century Club. Her work with AIDS patients and in service-learning earned her the Presidents' Award for distinguished service. In 2019, Duquesne University President Ken Gormley granted her Professor Emerita status.

As a trained spiritual director and after the Institute of Spirituality was closed, Dr. Riley continued the university outreach to the rural areas of West Virginia where she continues to volunteer as Executive Director of the Institute for Spirituality located in Charleston, WV ( In her full time secondary piano teaching role in the Mary Pappert School of Music, she coordinated the service-learning with the students in the piano classes taught in the 16 station MIDI-equipped lab. The service-learning reaches 5 senior citizen homes, the UPMC-hospital system, Jubilee Soup kitchen, and 2-day care centers for the impoverished. Several private piano students of Sister Carole Riley have professional performance experience while the majority of her students are skilled classroom music teachers and music therapists around the globe. She continues scholarly research through CD recordings integrating music, emotions and spiritual experiences. These are published internationally through St. Paul's Communications, formerly Alba house (

As an international consultant to several religious communities of men and women, her influence has a global impact in mentoring the next generation of committed vowed religious men and women. Her musical influence continues through her active participation in lecturing and adjudication in the National Federation of Piano Teachers, and Music Educators National Association, Pennsylvania Music Teachers' Association, and the WV Music Educators' Association. Sr. Carole also is a member of and served as music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon's faculty advisor and is also a past President of Pi Kappa Lambda.

Since Dr. Riley's retirement from Duquesne University, she devotes her time and energy as Executive Director of the West Virginia Institute For Spirituality, training and supervising spiritual directors in Ignatian Spirituality with the methods of Fr. Adrian van Kaam, C.S.Sp, founder of the Institute of Formative Spirituality at Duquesne University and its successor, the Epiphany Association of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Among her many duties as Executive Director, Sister Carole continues to give two programs a year which afford participants CEUs, Continuing Educational Units, for Social Workers, Registered Nurses, and Licensed Professional Counselors. Sister shares her gifts of spiritual direction to many people world-wide through ZOOM and Facetime, offers parish retreats, and facilitates parish administration planning.

Recently WVIS and Sr. Carole have affiliated with the Graduate Theological Foundation in both spiritual direction and sacred music teaching, advising on the master and doctoral level.

"Making God's Providence visible" with her life at the service of the Gospel, Sr. Carole uses her God-given gifts for the good of all with whom she comes in contact.


Ph.D., Duquesne University
M.M., Duquesne University
B.S., Duquesne University

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