Helpers Of Our Lady of Lourdes (Hospitalité) is a charity registered in Scotland, No: SC006312
We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Maria Capaldi on 29 July 2015 at the age of 100. Maria passed away peacefully in the nursing home at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Edinburgh.
Maria had a great love of Lourdes and Our Lady. Despite her advanced years, she actually continued to work as a helper on the Archdiocesan Pilgrimage up until 2010, and for the last 5 years, came to Lourdes as an assisted pilgrim - staying in the Accueil Marie Saint Frai centre under the care of the helper team.
Maria first went to Lourdes as a helper in 1939, and has been every year since - except for the years during the Second World War. 2015 marked 76 years of involvement with Lourdes. As well as helping with the Archdiocesan Pilgrimage, she also worked as a “Stagier” - assisting with general duties in Lourdes
Maria had a long and interesting life. Born in 1915, she found herself caring for her three younger sisters at the age of 8, following the death of her parents. The four girls moved into an orphanage run by nuns in Aberdeen. When Maria was 15 she moved to London and worked as a secretary, using her salary to ensure that her sisters were well cared for.
Maria was married to Frank in 1946 and moved to Edinburgh. Frank & Maria ran a newsagents shop in Great Junction Street. Sadly, Frank died 21 years ago.
At the age of 100, Maria was pleased to receive congratulatory telegrams from both Pope Francis and the Queen.
Maria’s funeral Mass was concelebrated by no fewer than 7 priests in Holy Cross Church, Edinburgh. The principal celebrant was Fr James Tracey and the homily was preached by Maria’s nephew - Fr Paul Capaldi. Mgr Tony Duffy led the service of committal at Warriston Crematorium. During the Mass and subsequent service at Warriston Crematorium, many stories of Maria’s life were recounted, including her ability to deal with adversity and her tremendous faith in God, Our Lady and the Church. Maria had left some thoughts about how she wished to be remembered and these are reproduced below:
“I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one. I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done. I’d like to leave an echo, whispering softly down the ways - of happy times, and laughing times, and bright and sunny days. I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun, of happy memories that I leave - when life is done”.
Maria then recounted a prayer - “You have gone no further from us than God, and God is very near”.
Maria’s passing is a great loss for the Lourdes community - at home and at the Sanctuary - we give thanks for her long life, her faith, her example and her friendship.
Our Lady of Lourdes - pray for her.
Saint Bernadette - pray for her.
If you would like to leave a tribute to Maria on this site, please click on the button below to go to our Memorial Garden.