Saltini continued to welcome more and more troubled and abandoned youth. Eventually, as more young people knocked on his door, the community grew and laywomen came as "mothers" to care for the youth who arrived. Soon couples also began to arrive who welcomed the children and raised them as a family.
The first commune of Nomadelfia was located on the grounds of a former concentration camp in Fossoli following the German occupation of Italy during the Second World War, before later transferring to Grosseto.
There is no private property in the commune; everything is shared, and children who come are required to attend school until the age of 18. Today there are some 5,000 youth who have been welcomed into the Grosseto commune. Many of the couples in the community have welcomed children and youth as foster-parents.
The last pope to visit Nomadelfia was St. John Paul II in 1989, just eight years after Fr. Saltini's death in 1981.
After arriving around 8a.m. May 10, Pope Francis was welcomed by Saltini's successor, Don Ferdinando Neri, and the president of the community, Francesco Matterazzo.
He visited the commune's cemetery and led the community in a prayer at Saltini's tomb, leaving a stone with his name on it, as other inhabitants of Nomadelfia have done, before visiting the tombs of the first members of the community.
Francis then made his way to the chapel of the main house of the community, where he entrusted two children into the care of two separate families, after which he met with the wider community.
In his speech, Pope Francis pointed to the meaning of their name, Nomadelfia, saying the "law of brotherhood" they live was the life-goal of their founder.
Saltini, he said, understood when he saw abandoned and suffering youth that "the only language they understood was that of love."
Because of this, the priest was able to identify a unique type of society "where there is no space for isolation or solitude, but the principle collaboration between different families is in force, where the members recognize their brothers in faith."
Francis also pointed to the care shown toward the elderly in the commune, who even when in poor health are not abandoned, but are supported by the entire community.
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"Continue on this path, incarnating the model of fraternal love through visible works and signs in the many contexts where evangelical charity calls you," the pope said, telling members that when faced with a world that is often hostile to Christ and his Church, "do not hesitate in responding to the joyful and serene witness of your lives, inspired by the Gospel."
After his brief visit to Nomadelfia, Pope Francis made another short stop in Loppiano, heart of the Focolare Movement launched by Chiara Lubich in 1943 as a means of spiritual and social renewal.
The movement, which places an emphasis on universal brotherhood and ecumenical unity, and promotes a Marian spirituality, is currently present in 182 countries around the world.
Although the movement was established by a Catholic, it embraces and welcomes members of other religions who do not necessarily share Catholic beliefs. Focolare has around two million Catholic members as well as thousands of members from other Christian churches and religious traditions, including Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.
After arriving to Loppiano, the pope immediately went to the shrine of "Maria Theotokos," where he sat in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and prayed in front of the image of the Mary the "Theotokos" – the "God-bearer" or "Mother of God" in Greek.
In an audience with members of the movement in the sanctuary's churchyard, the pope responded to three questions on how to live a life of true charity amid modern challenges; how academic and formational entities can grow and build new forms of leadership in society, and what the mission of Focolare is in the New Evangelization.