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Maria Pia Bertolucci a woman who made a difference

Charitable love

Born in Capannori (LU) on 2 March 1961, she was a prominent figure on the Lucca scene and beyond. She was known nationwide and beyond for her commitment to voluntary work, politics, culture and tourism. Maria Pia Bertolucci passed away prematurely on 20 February 2019 following a long illness, but it is remarkable how her memory has not faded or lost its intensity despite the passing years.

Maria Pia was a woman in love with Jesus. Her faith was inexhaustible, even during the physical ordeal she underwent with her illness. She missed no opportunity to make the Gospel known and was an authentic witness of it through her works. The spirit, tenacity and charitable love she expressed in each of her works made her a credible example even in the eyes of the youngest and most distrustful. She dedicated her life and talents to the last, the poor, the forgotten. She never shirked a request for help that so many people in the community used to make to her, aware of her prominent position in society.


From a very young age, she began her journey in the world of volunteering, first in the Italian Red Cross, then with the ‘season of the Conventions on Volunteering’ together with important people from universities, foundations, and the political world, including Maria Eletta Martini and Giuseppe Bicocchi, with whom she worked on law 266 regulating the relationship between volunteering and public institutions. For many years she held important roles within the National Movement of the Misericordie, she was National Councillor from 2012 and National Treasurer of the Misericordie from 2012 to 2017. She was first a member of the Magistrate and then Governor of the Misericordia di Capannori (LU) since 1999.


Maria Pia has also distinguished herself for her involvement in politics at both municipal and regional level. From 1995 to 2000, she was Regional Councillor for Tuscany, dealing mainly with social and health issues. She served as vice-mayor of the municipality of Capannori (LU) and was a candidate for mayor in the 2014 municipal elections.

Maria Pia still understood politics as a space aimed at the common good inhabited where solidarity and public institutions could coexist.


She was the first female president of the Centro Turistico Giovanile (CTG). Her far-sightedness gave a particular impetus to the development of social and sustainable tourism in Italy, which she considered to be an occasion for the personal growth of each person and an opportunity that everyone could take advantage of (inclusive tourism).


Few people know that Maria Pia was also a registered journalist. She created and managed the Social Cooperative for the Museum Complex of the Cathedral of San Martino, the multimedia project of the Francigena Entry Point, and various collaborations in the service of promoting and enhancing the assets of the city of Lucca.


There is one aspect that held Maria Pia’s many activities together: her faith. A firm, tangible, unshakeable faith that inevitably overwhelmed anyone who met her. Constant prayer, the call to the Word, enabled her to live with serenity even through the hard years of illness, with boundless trust and abandonment to the will of the Lord. She expressed such strength that could only come to her from on high. She was convincing in affirming her values. Her works, to which many were drawn, always smelled of the Holy Spirit.

During the funeral that took place on 23 February 2019 in the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca, the then Archbishop Italo Castellani called her the ‘pilgrim of life’ to underline a figure that would remain alive and present even after death. And this was indeed the case.

On 22 March 2019, in the homily of the Mass in her memory celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Monsignor Guido Lucchiari recalled Maria Pia as the ‘Saint next door’.

The Experience

Those who knew Maria Pia Bertolucci closely will certainly remember her for her generosity. She practised a constant and silent charity that was nevertheless able to make a noise because it touched the lives of many.

My collaboration with her started immediately after I returned from my second missionary trip. She wanted to meet me and introduced me to the many realities that she was coordinating at different levels, the Cathedral Museum, the nursery school, the bed and breakfast, and the Misericordia of Capannori. From that moment on, I had the good fortune to work for her and with her until the day she died. She gave space and attention to many ideas and projects that excited me, trying with her experience to realise them. My time with Maria Pia was a true school of life, never banal, never taken for granted, but always rich in knowledge, spiritual sense and foresight.

Maria Pia’s life was a great gift for everyone, and her memory, example and the new and positive stimuli she left behind remain. A memory I cherish with great care.


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