Boys' Town of Italy

As a result of the war, all over Rome there were orphaned and abandoned children who were shining shoes, panhandling, and stealing just to survive. Msgr. John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, an Irish priest posted to the Vatican during the post-WWII years saw the need to address this social problem. He started with what he called his "Shoe Shine Hotel," a basement shelter in a war-damaged, abandoned school. His concept of giving children in need the love and "a chance in life," grew as he organized shelters all over Italy (which eventually came to include girls as well). All told, he was credited with feeding, clothing, and educating more than 180,000 children.