Blessed Laura Vicuña - WYD2013 Patron of the Week

Last edited 5th November 2012

Blessed Laura Vicuña - WYD2013 Patron of the Week

Blessed Laura Vicuña was born on April 5, 1891 in Santiago, Chile. She was the first daughter of the Vicuña Pino family. Her parents were José Domingo Vicuña, a soldier with aristocratic roots, and Mercedes Pino. Her father was in military service and her mother worked at home.

At the very end of the nineteenth century, civil war erupted in Chile. A key figure in one of the warring factions was related to José Domingo, Claudio Vicuña.

Now Claudio did not achieve his goal of becoming president; and unfortunately his enemies began pursuing the whole Vicuña family, forcing them to flee their homeland.

In 1894, after the birth of a second daughter, Julia Amanda, José Domingo died, leaving his wife and daughters with no money and in real danger. Mercedes decided to travel to Argentina with her two girls and hide from those who wanted her family dead.

They moved to Argentinian province of Neuquén and in search of a way to pay for her daughters' education, she took a job at a hostel. The owner of the Hostel, Manuel Mora, propositioned Mercedes, promising her that if she would be in a relationship with him he would pay for Laura's education.

Mercedes agreed and Laura soon entered the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians School, where she was taught a love for religion.

Following her late father's example, and with the care of the nuns, she began to take a deep interest in the Catholic faith.

Laura made her First Communion in 1901 and she expressed her vocation of love towards God, her desire to serve the poor and needy, and also to die sinless. Because of her deep religious interest, she was not well liked among her classmates as she was always praying whilst they were playing games.

She spent most of her time in the school's chapel.
She had a very good friend called Mercedes Vera, and she told Mercedes about her desire to become a nun.

Even when Laura was very young, Laura was mature enough to understand her mother's problems, which included, as she saw it, Mercedes' distance from God. This motivated her to ritually pray every day for her mother's salvation, and to help her to leave Manuel.

During one of her school holidays, Laura was beaten twice by Manuel Mora, who wanted her to forget about becoming a nun.

Later he stopped paying for her education but even so she held on to her desire to become a nun. When the nuns at her school learned of what was happening they gave her a scholarship to the school. Although she was grateful to her teachers, she still worried about her mother's situation at home with Manuel.

One day, remembering the phrase of Jesus: “There is no one greater than the one that gives his life for his brothers," Laura made a decision to give her life in exchange for her mother's salvation. As time passed she became seriously ill with pulmonary tuberculosis. Before she died, Laura told her mother: “Mama, I offer my life for you, I asked our lord for this. Before I die, Mother, would I have the joy of seeing you repent?” Laura’s mother 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!" On January 22, 1904, Laura died of her disease, weakened by the physical abuse she had endured but peaceful as she had offered her life for the salvation of her mother.

Blessed Laura Vicuña is the patron of abuse victims.

Give me the grace and help to adhere to the sweet will of the Father with a pure heart. Amen.

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