Teacher and Lover of Birds Dies
She was born Mary Valeria on February 19, 1924, in Steelton, Pennsylvania to John Goles and Catherine (Sestric Vergot) Goles. She was the youngest child in a family of eight children.
Mary Valeria attended St. Joseph Academy in Columbia, Pennsylvania, then asked to enter the Adorers Community.
Under her religious name, Sister Mary John professed first vows on August 12, 1942, and her final vows exactly five years later, at St. Joseph Convent in Columbia, Pennsylvania.
She attended the Precious Blood Teacher Training Institute, Columbia, Pennsylvania; and Mount Mercy College and Duquesne University, both in Pittsburgh. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Duquesne (year unrecorded).
Sister Mary John taught elementary school, and sometimes doubled as principal, from 1942 to 2001 at St. Rochus School, Johnstown, Pennsylvania; St. Jerome School, Chicago; Immaculate Conception School, East Chicago, Indiana; Sacred Heart School in McKeesport, Pennsylvania; Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Niles, Ohio; St. Francis School, Lumberton, North Carolina; St. Teresa School, Albany, Georgia; St. Joseph Croatian School, St. Louis; Seven Sorrows School, Middletown, Pennsylvania; St. Peter School, Greenville, North Carolina; St. Mary’s School, Steelton, Pennsylvania; and Sacred Heart School, Lewistown, Pennsylvania.
Sister had a great love for birds and cared for parakeets in her later years, attracting visitors that she joked would not have come to see her otherwise.
Sister Mary John was devoted to Mary and said that she tried to live the Beatitudes. She was a great cook, and shared her skill with others.
Sister Mary John is survived by nieces and nephews and their spouses.
Sister Mary John’s body will be received and blessed at St. Anne’s Retirement Center at 9:30 a.m., Saturday. January 12, 2019. A wake at 10 a.m. will be followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. in St. Anne’s Chapel. Burial will follow in the convent cemetery.
Memorials in Sister Mary John’s honor may be made at adorers.org or mailed to Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region Mission Center, 4233 Sulphur Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, 63109.