Death of Maria Montessori

May 6th, 1952

Maria Montessori ended her life sitting in the garden of a house owned by friends in Noordwijk an Zee, a village on the Dutch coast, discussing with her faithful son and chief assistant Mario whether or not to go to Africa. She had been told that at eighty-one she was too frail to travel so far and that someone else could go and deliver her lectures for her. ‘Am I no longer of any use then?’ she asked him. An hour later she was dead of a cerebral haemorrhage. She was interred in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Noordwijk, having always wanted to be buried wherever she happened to die.

So ended a life that started in Italy in 1870 and a career that began after she was the first woman to graduate in medicine from Rome University. Ironically, she had always hated the idea of being a teacher, but after joining the staff of the university’s psychiatric clinic, she found herself fascinated by the challenge of educating mentally subnormal children.

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