Catholic World News

Papal tribute to Nomadelfia’s founder

December 19, 2016

Pope Francis paid tribute to Father Zeno Saltini (1900-81), founder of Nomadelfia, a community in Grossetto, Italy, whose members take their inspiration from the early Christian community in the Acts of the Apostles, renounce private property, live in a kibbutz-style manner.

Father Saltini was accused of Communism in the early 1950s, but was rehabilitated a decade later during the papacy of St. John XXIII. St. John Paul II visited Nomadelfia in 1989.

“Through difficulties and misunderstandings, [Father Saltini] went on trustfully, with the aim of bringing the good seed of the Gospel even to the most parched earth,” Pope Francis said to 330 Nomadelfia members on December 17. “Don Zeno appears to us today as an example of a faithful disciple of Christ who, in imitation of the Divine Master, stoops to the sufferings of the weakest and poorest, becoming a witness of inexhaustible faith.”

“Your spiritual heritage is linked in a special way to the life of fraternity, characterized in particular by your welcome to children and your special care for the elderly,” the Pope continued. “I encourage you to give to society this example of care and tenderness, which is so important.”

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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Dec. 19, 2016 7:18 PM ET USA

    In 1951, my eldest sister at the young age of 18, read about Don Zeno and Nomadelfia in the Catholic Digest (I believe it was that magazine, maybe another). She was inspired to travel to Italy and work with the members of the community which at that time were caring for child victims of WWII in family settings, with married couples serving as parents of orphans. Judy remained there several months learning Italian along with caring for the children and being a surrogate elder sister to them.