NPH Says Goodbye to a Dear Friend

Rina Mongini was a close friend of Fr. Wasson and NPH supporter.
January 16, 2013 - International

Dee, Sergio and Rina

Born in Visinada, Italy on Aug. 6, 1924 Departed on Jan. 13, 2013 and resided in Cottonwood, AZ.

Rina (Catherine Pietra) Mongini was born on August 6, 1924 to Anna Balanzin and Peter Grimalda in the village of Visinada, on the Istrian peninsula of Italy (now Croatia) and died in her home in Cottonwood, Arizona on January 13, 2013.

At the age of 9, Rina moved with her family to the Italian port city of Trieste. During World War II, she worked in Trieste for a finance department of the Italian government and began to independently study English. After the war end, her proficiency in English led the Italian government to loan her to the occupying British who were responsible for negotiating war claims.

Her fluency in English also led to her 1948 chance encounter with Emil Mongini, who was visiting his extended family in Italy. They married on November 18, 1948. In 1949, Rina arrived in the Verde Valley as a new bride and loved the area upon first sight. She and Emil raised six children, one of whom (John) was deceased at the age of eight. During her child-rearing years, she developed her skills as an artist, focusing on portraits and landscapes, with Southwestern and later religious themes.

She was an active member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, serving in many capacities, including director of the CCD religious education program and member of the Parish Council. She was a co-founder of the Verde Valley interdenominational Christian Benefit Fund and volunteered as that organization's treasurer. She later served as an early board member of the Verde Valley Mental Health Clinic and the diocesan pastoral council and was actively involved in the Currsillo movement for many years.

In 1993, she received the "Women of Distinction" award for international goodwill and understanding from Soroptimist International of the Verde Valley and later was honored as diocesan Pax Christi Woman of the Year. Later in her life she took vows as a lay Franciscan and continued as an honorary board member for Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (Our Little Brothers and Sisters) – homes for orphaned and abandoned children in Mexico, Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, founded by the late Father William Wasson.

While Emil preceded her in death by 26 years, Rina is survived by five children, Patricia Mongini-Brunda, David Mongini, Michael Mongini, Liana Settanni, and Michelle Mongini; six grandsons (John B, Stephen, Christopher, Anthony, Rafael, and John M); six granddaughters (Monica, Nicole, Megan, Chelsey, Francesca, and Katrina); one great grand-daughter, Rylie; two brothers, Piero and Marcello Grimalda; two sons-in-law, Joe Settanni and Mike Brunda, and two daughters-in-law, Sheila Mongini and Jeni Mongini.

The family wishes that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be sent to support "Our Little Brothers and Sisters" homes for orphaned and abandoned children (by mail: Friends of the Orphans, 134 North La Salle Street, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60602 or Online:

An online guestbook is available at

Visitation: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Recitation of the Holy Rosary: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 7:00 pm

Funeral Mass: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, 10:30 am

Mongini Family   
NPH Supporters




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