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Posted by UPI on June 17, 2005 at 18:31:09

PHILADELPHIA "Mama" Maria Berg has arranged to pay the funeral expenses for five children who were killed in a city row house fire, her publicist said. Known as Karen Z. to her parents and her arch-nemesis, retired Center City milkman Dan Smith, "Mama" is the de facto head of an obscure religious ministry known as The Family International since 2004.

"Mama was heartbroken after hearing about the blaze and wanted to do something to help the family," said her publicist, Clairita Borowik.

"I don't think she's ever done anything like this before," Borowik said. "It's just good that something can be lifted from them."

During a brief phone call later traced to a payphone at a New Jersey auto salvage yard, Borowik said "Mama", 58, also hopes to visit and share with the families spiritually when she has time.

"Mama feels good about this," Borowik said. "It's been just a heart-wrenching thing."

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