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Mary was a ‘pope’

Mary Pope loved flowers.

A funeral Mass for Mary Eugenia Pope (April 12, 1936–December 22, 2018) was celebrated on Wednesday, January 2 at her home parish, Holy Rosary RC Church, Park Street, Port of Spain. The celebrants were Frs Harold Imamshah, Thomas Lawson OP and Urban Hudlin OP. This short eulogy was prepared by Melissa Julien-Cudjoe.

Generous, dedicated to her faith and having a soft spot for the unfortunate are words that best describe Mary Pope.

Mary had no children so she adopted the people she came in contact with and treated them as her family. In her early years, she worked at Bermudez Biscuit Company and lived at Nazareth House Hostel, Duncan Street.
In 1970, Fr Nick Sheridan OP, the parish priest of Rosary Church which she attended, introduced her to the Dominican Fathers at The House of the Immaculate Conception at St Finbar’s in Diego Martin.

In those days there were as many as 60 priests visiting and she was always pleasant and welcoming to them and prepared their meals and in the latter years, took care of the elderly priests who lived there. She stayed there until she retired in 1995.

At thirty-six years of age she met Francis Pope at a harvest at Rosary church, and they got married. She jokingly would say that she was the only person in the world married to a pope. He was the love of her life. Sadly, Francis passed away suddenly in 1999 and Mary wore black for over seven years.

In her neighbourhood, she could be seen feeding the hungry and the homeless— even the cats in the area would start walking toward her apartment at mealtime.  With her usual sense of humour, she would say “You never know, Francis might come back as a cat so I am making sure I feed them…”

Mary loved flowers—they adorned the walls of her apartment. She also loved Christmas and had purchased the ingredients to make her usual Old Year’s night dinner for the homeless. Even though she will not be there in person, she will be there in spirit on Old Year’s night as her neighbours agreed to cook the meal.

Mary was prepared to meet the Lord. We know that the angels have taken her into His arms. May she rest in peace.