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