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November 24, 2015

Remembering Maria

We would like to dedicate this newsletter to Maria Catroppa, whose life was taken at the hands of her husband six years ago today. We honour Maria here, in this newsletter, and in every action that we take to help other women living in fear for their lives.  

Maria was a warm and loving mother of four who touched many in her life, and continues to do so. In the words of her daughter, Jay, “As difficult as it is to share, we hope you’ll listen to our mother’s story.”

Jay describes her mother as a hero. “Mom was our light and our guide. She raised us to be strong. As close as we were, as much as we loved her, and as much as she meant to us, we still missed the signs, ignored the clues, and thought that she and her spouse were just another normal married couple.”

But on November 24, 2009, Maria Catroppa was stabbed to death by her husband in their Surrey home. Her husband was later convicted of second-degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison.

In the wake of Maria’s death, her family found strength and support at Surrey Women’s Centre.

“Surrey Women’s Centre offered us the support we needed and, once offered, it was like a lifeline that we couldn’t release. It was our shelter from the storm. Women need a safe place to go and to feel valued and deserving of help. We missed the signs of our mother’s situation – we need to learn from hers and others’ stories.”

Maria’s family bravely shares their story so that others don’t miss the warning signs.

“We can’t bring our mother back, but we hope that by telling her story we can help prevent this from happening to other women.”

The legacy that Maria leaves extends far beyond her closest circles. Throughout her life, Maria “spread her light to everyone she touched.”

Thanks to an award fund set up in Maria’s honour at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, she continues to do so. Each year, the award is offered to single mothers who otherwise cannot afford their education.

Through this, Maria’s light continues to shine.

Our thoughts and hearts are with Maria’s family on this day of remembrance. May we honour Maria, and the many other women whose lives have been taken at the hands of their partners. 

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