Sister Mary John Thomas died with rosary in hand and peace radiating from her face. She gave her last breath to her Beloved God, a breath that sang praise to her faithful God for 90 years of life.
Born in Kansas City, Kansas September 11, 1932, and given the name Dolores Margaret, she was the eldest of four children. She was preceded in death by father John Anthony Thomas, mother Elizabeth Margaret Purduski, and brother John Thomas Jr. She is survived by sisters Janet Tlusik and Mary Ann Thomas of Kansas City. She was deeply loved and will be missed by her sisters, nieces and nephews, their families, her Monastic community sisters, friends, priests, former students, parishioners, and ministry colleagues.
She was greatly influenced by her parents and Grandmother Helen with their living example of dedication to faith, family, and hard work. The children attended St. Anthony’s Catholic School staffed by the Benedictine Sisters of Atchison, Kansas. Her call to become a sister began there as they taught her to clean the sanctuary where her love for the Blessed Sacrament began. After high school she worked for one year as a secretary and joined Mount Saint Scholastica Convent, Atchison, Kansas, in 1951. She made my first profession on December 22, 1952, and her perpetual profession in 1956. She ministered as a teacher at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Pueblo, CO, St. Joseph School in Monte Vista, CO, St. Pius X in Mission, KS, St. Cajetan School in Denver, CO, and Holy Trinity School in Colorado Springs, CO. She served in pastoral ministry at St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Denver and Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Lakewood, CO. Her ministry fulfilled two passions: teaching children and caring for the elderly.
Four major milestones marked her journey as a Benedictine. She was called by her community to serve as Prioress from 1975 to 1983; she was forever grateful for her growth as a monastic woman during these years. Her Golden Jubilee in 2002 filled her with joy as her mother, siblings and family members celebrated with her the rich journey covering fifty years of faith and cherished relationships. Her pastoral ministry allowed her to share in the lives of families on their journeys of joy, grief, pain, healing, suffering, and blessing. In 2009, she accepted leadership of the team planning the monastery’s move to a new location in Black Forest. She quipped of this monumental undertaking “God’s grace, lots of humility, and a healthy sense of humor got me through it.”
She directed the retreat ministry and food services until she retired but then continued serving others through hospitality, prayer, and a welcoming smile. After a heart attack on Thanksgiving Day, 2022, she decided to come home to die in hospice care with her community. She had a final video call with her beloved family in Kansas and then entered the final act of surrender to her God.