We have to remember that she was a real person.
The Huntress is a vigilante operating out of Gotham City, and a member of the Batman Family. She is also a devout Catholic, and is very in touch with her Italian heritage. Her career is inspired by a personal vendetta against organized crime, responsible for killing her entire family. At first, her ruthless methods and willingness to kill made her an outcast from the heroic community, but in time she learned to temper her methods and became accepted by her peers. She has also been a member of the Justice League and the Birds of Prey.
Maria Panessa Bertinelli, the wife of Franco Bertinelli of the Mafia family in Gotham City, was the subject of frequent beatings from her husband, though he was careful never to hit her in the face. Maria began an affair with a man named Santo Cassamento and eventually became pregnant by him. Knowing the unborn child wasn't his, Franco continued to beat his wife throughout her pregnancy. When Maria gave birth to this child of her illicit union, she chose the name Helena Rosa. During the first eight years of Helena's life, she lived in the household of a Mafioso without ever being aware of the criminal dealing which took place there.
When Helena was eight years old, a man barged in to the Bertinelli household during dinner and shot Franco, Maria and Pino Bertinelli, sparing Helena. The hit came from Mandragora who wished for no vendettas against him. Helena's biological father passed the order along with a modification that "the sister" be spared. Santo was referring to Maria. But the gunman confused Maria with Helena and so Helena was spared, though she was not supposed to be.
Helena was placed under the care of her Uncle Tomasso's nephew, Salvatore Asaro. She was taken back to the old country, Sicily, where she would be kept safe and where the family was still strong. When arriving, she was terrified. Helena remained there for a number of years. Watching her cousin and uncle train and practice with weapons and hand-to-hand combat. However, the nightmares stayed with her. One night, her cousin showed her that only she could stop the nightmare by putting an end to those who murdered her family: blood cries for blood. When taken into the barn, she asked her cousin to teach her how, picking up a crossbow on the wall. She trained until the age of fifteen when she was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland to protect her from the Italian authorities who were cracking down on the Mafia. When reading and seeing what was happening, she realized that everything she had been told was a lie about the Mafia. She realized that the Mafia was a force of corruption and evil for a hundred years, and it had been headed by her own family in Gotham City. At age sixteen, she finally returned to Gotham City to spend Christmas with her uncle. However, she hated everyone there. During the party, Helena witnessed her family finally was frightened of something. Batman had crashed the party and fought with them. Helena realized that she could fight them too.
Helena returned to Switzerland for school where she plotted her vengeance. She went to her old house in Sicily (which had since been abandoned as a result of her uncle and cousin being arrested), and took a crossbow and a number of items for her crusade. Enrolling at the university in Palermo, she learned all about the Mafia. She constructed her costume and a number of weapons. She thought herself as a nun, totally devoted to her quest. She returned to Gotham in pursuit of vengeance as the Huntress.