SOMERVILLE, Texas — One of Burleson County’s most beloved residents is set to be buried Wednesday.
Margaret John Della Morte, affectionately known by Somerville residents as Sister John, passed away early last month.
As the community mourns her passing, the graduated students of a daycare run by Sister John reflect on their time spent in her care.
“A lot of her students went on to become salutatorians and valedictorians of their classes," said former student Sonia Orozco. "I think she impacted our education so much.”
Orozco was under the sister’s care as a small child and took her own children to Morte's preschool as an adult. A lifelong member of St. Ann Catholic Church in Somerville, Orozco was able to grow close to Sister John.
"She knew everyone," Orozco said. "There was no stranger. I can remember taking her to some doctor’s appointments, and she would just speak to everyone. Kids always gravitated to her.”
Another lifelong Somerville resident, Taylor Hohlt, wasn’t a member of Morte's church when she attended daycare in the late 90s. Sister John would teach children from different religious upbringings, and even from outside Burleson County.
"She was just like a second mother," Hohlt said. "You would just want to see her every day, and she was the sweetest, most caring... she would come up and give you a hug.”
Sister John was 83-years-old when she lost her battle with cancer last month. After a lifetime spent nurturing Burleson County’s residents from infancy, her close friend, Lucinda Murphy, says one of the nun’s last requests was to have children near her.
“When she was on her death bed, she asked to see some of the little children she used to take care of," Murphy said. "And so one of the grandmothers got a group of them together. They drew pictures for her, and they put them on her bed."
Sister John’s love was felt all throughout Burleson County, whether her students were Catholic or not – whether they could afford her daycare services or not. Her dedication to teaching and blessing children leaves a lasting impact.
Sister john’s funeral service takes place today at 9 a.m. at the St. Ann Church campus.