A Massachusetts woman who became a foster mother to more than 70 children has died.

The Boston Globe reports that 82-year-old Miriam Gannon died of lymphoma at her Braintree home Friday. The Clancy-Lucid Funeral home in Weymouth confirmed the death.

Gannon and her husband were attending Sunday Mass in the 1960s when the priest pleaded for foster homes for children.

The Gannons answered that call, and over the years adopted nearly two dozen of their foster children and became legal guardians to many more.

Many of the children had disabilities. Matthew Gannon expanded their home from four bedrooms to eight to accommodate everyone, complete with an elevator and wheelchair-accessible areas.

Miriam Gannon said in 2010 the children knew they were loved "the minute they walked in the door."