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Valerie Cassar

Philip Leone-Ganado on behalf of Marana-tha’ Community:

Valerie Cassar passed away very suddenly at her residence in Sliema last Friday. Valerie’s name would never have been seen or heard on the national or international media. And yet, so many people both locally and abroad knew her.

A little anecdote: I was attending a Papal Mass in Rome in May, and as I was being jostled by the crowd surging ahead to enter St Peter’s Square, I was thrust onto an elderly Italian woman who, on learning that I was from Malta, asked me: “Oh! Do you know Valerie?”.

So who was Valerie? She was a simple woman, a wife and mother with a big heart and a great love for Jesus. She was not one to discuss grand ideas or political issues, but she knew the meaning of service – not servitude, but a loving service to one and all.

To my mind, her personality combined the characters of two amiable sisters we encounter in the Gospel, namely Martha and Mary. She had the inward disposition of Mary, sitting calmly at the feet of the Lord, listening to his Word, receiving his love and giving him her own love. And because of this disposition, she was able to become like Martha, always willing to serve.

Valerie was an exemplary wife and mother to her family. But she was also a mother within the Marana-tha’ Catholic Charismatic Community. She took a deep personal interest in every member, listening patiently to every problem and always offering her support. When problems grew big, she would discreetly inform everyone to lift that person’s problem before God in prayer.

Valerie was also a great organiser: she would meticulously co-ordinate the Community’s events, be they seminars and retreats or national events such as the monthly healing services which, at their peak, would attract people in their thousands.

Together with her husband Arthur, she also coordinated all the arrangements for international outreaches of evangelisation. Moreover, she was an excellent secretary to Dr John Bonnici Mallia, the community leader. She managed Dr John’s diary and was especially efficient at making his arrangements during his regular overseas speaking and ministry engagements.

Valerie rarely complained and she never bragged. Even if she were utterly exhausted, she would still manage her characteristic gentle smile. No wonder I and others had the tendency to call her Santa Valeria! For the children within the Community, she was Auntie Valerie – a loving person who understood them and their needs. And for the rest of us, she was good old Val, a loving and faithful friend and a true sister in Jesus.

The little seed of faith that God planted in Valerie grew into a big tree where others could find their shelter. May she now rejoice in beholding the wonderful face of Him whom she loved and served so tenderly. And may God comfort, with His peace, her husband Arthur, and children Mark and Christianne.

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