.- On May 12 Irena Sendler, the courageous Polish Catholic nurse who saved Jewish children from death at the hands of the Nazis, died at the age of 98 in a hospital in Warsaw.
Sendler became known as the angel of the Warsaw ghetto for having saved 2,500 Jewish children from certain death.
During that time she worked for the Warsaw department of social wellbeing which administered the community soup kitchens throughout the city. She worked tirelessly helping Jews and Catholics.
After the creation of the Warsaw ghetto, Sendler was able to take in the children of many families in order to keep them from being deported to the concentration camps. She transported the children in ambulances as if they were sick with typhus, she hid them in trash cans, tool boxes, supply chests or coffins and later in convents and Catholic homes.
She created an archive with the real identities of the children so that one day they could be reunited with their surviving family members.
In 1943 she was detained by the Gestapo and taken to prison where she was brutally tortured. A Divine Mercy holy card was found in her cell with the phrase, Jesus I trust in you, which she kept until 1979 when she gave it to John Paul II as a gift.
She never betrayed her mission and she was sentenced to death, but she was freed thanks to the intervention of the Polish resistance.
At the end of the war she was able to recover her archives. Although most of the families of the children she saved had died in the concentration camps, she placed many of the children in orphanages, and some were sent to Palestine.
In 1965, the organization Yad Vashem of Jerusalem granted her the title righteous among the nations. During the last years of her life she received the thanks of the children she had saved, and was nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize.