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|Blessed Laura Vicuña|
|Born||April 5, 1891, Santiago, Chile|
|Died||January 22, 1904, Las Lajas, Argentina|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||1988 by Pope John Paul II|
|Patronage||abuse victims, Argentina, incest victims, loss of parents, martyrs|
Escape from Chile
She was born April 5, 1891. She was the first daughter of the Vicuña Pino family. Her parents were José Domingo Vicuña and Mercedes Pino. Her father was in the military service and her mother worked at home.
When the nineteenth century was about to end, Chile had a civil war. In one of the battle fields was Claudio Vicuña, a relative of José Domingo. Claudio Vicuña did not achieve that goal to become president so, his enemies began a pursuit for the whole Vicuña family, which obligated them to run away from Chile.In 1894, after the birth of a second daughter, named Julia, Domingo died, leaving his wife and daughters penniless and in great peril. Mercedes decided to travel to Argentina to hide from those who wanted her family dead.
Early years in Argentina
Mercedes and her daughters moved near Nequén, a small town in Argentina. In search of a way to finance her daughters' education, she took a job in the Quilquihué Hostel. The owner of the Hostel, Manuel propositioned Mercedes, promising to pay for Laura's education in exchange. Laura soon entered the “Hijas of Maria Auxiliadora” School, where she was taught a love for religion. Following her father's example, and with the care of the nuns, she began to get interested in religion.
Vocation of Laura Vicuña
Laura made her First Communion on June 2,1901 where she expressed her vocation of love to God and her wishes to serving the poor and needy people, and also to die sinless. Because of her deep religious interest, she was not well-liked among her classmates. She spent most of her time "rezando" which means(repetitive praying), in the school's chapel.She had one good friend, Mercedes Vera, to whom she expressed her deepest feelings, such as her desire to become a nun.even when very young, Laura was mature enough to understand her mother's problems, which included according her Mercedes' distance from God. This motivated her to "rezar" which means (ritually praying) every day for her mother's salvation and to help her to leave Manuel.
Problems at home
During one of her school vacations, Laura was attacked twice by Manuel Mora, who wanted her to forget about becoming a nun. Even when he stopped paying for her education, she held to her ambition of nunhood. When the nuns at her school learned of the conflict, they gave her a scholarship. Although she was grateful to her teachers, she still worried about her mother's situation.
One day, remembering the phrase of Jesus: “There is no one greater than the one that gives his life for his brothers," Laura decided to give her life in exchange for her mother's salvation. As time passed she became seriously ill. Before she died, Laura told her mother: “I die, because I asked Jesus two years ago; I offered my life for you, asking for the grace of your salvation. Before I die, Mother, would I have the joy of seeing you repent?”Mercedes tearfully answered: “I swear, I will do whatever you ask me! God is the witness of my promise!"Finally Laura smiled and said to her mother: "Thanks, Jesus! Thanks Mary! Goodbye, Mother! Now I die happy!"In 22 January 1904 Laura gave her life for the salvation of her mother.From 1937 to 1958, Laura's remains lay in the Nequén graveyard; then they were moved to Bahía Blanca.
The congregation of Salesianos started Laura's canonization process in the 1950s. The congregation commended that duty to the nun Cecilia Genghini, who spent many years collecting information about Laura's life. But she did not see the completion of her work; she died the same year the process began.
One incentive for the congregation was the beatification of Saint Dominic Savio (March 5, 1950) and the canonization of Saint Maria Goretti (June 24, 1950). The progress began in the city of Viedma. But Laura could not be considered a martyr, and because of her young age, there was not much hopes for her beatification. In 1981, the last requirement was filled out by the congregation and on 5 June 1986, she was declared Venerable.
The main reason for Laura's beatification process was a miracle attributed to her by the nun Ofelia Del Carmen Lobos Arellano. In August 1955, doctors told Sister Ofelia that she would die of lung cancer in a few months, but when she prayed in faith to Laura, the disease disappeared. 1988 saw Laura's beatification by Pope John Paul II. Her feastday is celebrated on 22 January.
Her sanctuary is located at Renca Hill, 30 hectares in Santiago, Chile. The chapel has a capacity of 100. On 9 December, 1999, a temple in the city of Junín de los Andes was inaugurated and dedicated to the memory of Laura Vicuña.
- Life of Laura Vicuña,
- Laura Vicuña
- A brave girl: Laura Vicuña
- Blessed Laura Vicuña
- Laurita delle Ande. Vita di Laura Vicuña
- Blessed Laura Vicuna at Patron Saints Index
- Catholic Online
- (Spanish) Fundation Laura Vicuña
- Salesians of Don Bosco UK
- (Spanish) Special of Laura Vicuña, web site of Saint John Bosco
- (Spanish) Special of Laura Vicuña, web site of church.cl
- Sodality of Our Lady
- Laura Vicuna Foundation, Inc.pt:Laura Vicuña