Sr. Piera Cavaglià was born at Carignano, Turin (Italy) on April 16, 1947. She experienced a Salesian atmosphere from an early age, first in her family and later, on entering to begin her religious formation in the house of the aspirantate at Giaveno (Turin). After her religious profession in 1967, she took a degree in Catechetics at the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences, Turin. During the years that followed, she taught religion, still in Turin, in the school of Maria Ausiliatrice. Later she attended courses in Theology in the University of Münster (Germany) and at the Pontifical Institute of Carmelite Theology, Teresianum in Rome.
From 1979 she was at the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium in Rome, as a lecturer in Educational Methodology, Preventive System and History of the FMA Institute. In 1988 she obtained a doctorate in Educational Sciences, specializing in Pedagogy, and in 2000 she received a Diploma as an Archivist. To her we owe valuable research on the education of the woman, especially in the School of Nizza Monferrato, and on the educational charism of the Institute. She has published many books and articles on themes relating to her area of specialisation. She collaborated in producing the Plan of Formation.
Mother Antonia Colombo, as Mother General, nominated her Secretary General of the Institute at the end of GC XXI (2002). During the first six-year term she undertook the canonical visit to the provinces of St. Michael Archangel, Austria and Maria Ausiliatrice, Germany.
On October 30, 2008, during GC XXII, the new Mother General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, with the consent of her Council nominated, Sr. Piera as Secretary General for another term. In accepting the nomination, Sr. Piera said: «Six years ago I said yes and I did not know what to expect. Today I say my yes with joy. In the past six years I have experienced how much more I receive than what I can give».
On October 31, 2014, Mother Yvonne asked Sr. Piera to give her service in this delicate and important area for a third term. Sr. Piera, in accepting the request of Mother Yvonne, said: «With my heart renewed and placing all my strength in the Lord and in Mary Our Help, I accept. I also trust in the strength that comes from the support of Mother Yvonne and the Sisters of the Council».