Rome, Italy, Jun 1, 2016 / 02:02 am America/Denver (CNA).
Irene Bertoni was 18 years-old during World War II. And it was at this tumultuous time that she discovered God's vocational call for her to be a mother.
She adopted two abandoned children, and with the blessing of her bishop founded the Catholic charitable work Nomadelfia, along with a priest named Father Zeno Saltini.
Mama Irene fully lived out her calling and died on May 15, the Solemnity of Pentecost, at 93 years-old. She was the adoptive mother of 58 children and an example for dozens of women who followed in her path.
Irene died in the home that Blessed Paul VI donated to her in the 1960s. Hundreds of people, including Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, attended the funeral which was held at the Nomadelfia community, founded in 1948 and which currently is comprised of more than 50 families that take in abandoned children as their own.
Saint John Paul II visited this community in 1989 and praised their way of life, saying it reminded him of the early Christians. The community has also received Pope Francis' blessing.