Blessed Laura Vicuña

Born Apr. 5, 1891, Santiago, Chile.
Died Jan. 22, 1904, Junín de los Andes, Argentina.
Beatified Sept. 3, 1988.
Liturgical memorial Jan. 22.

When Laura’s father, an army officer, abandoned the family, her mother took her and her younger sister to Argentina, where in 1900 Laura became a pupil in a boarding school of the Salesian Sisters. Upon making her first Communion, like Dominic Savio she made resolutions to love God wholeheartedly and to die rather than offend him. She became a model student.

Realizing that her mother had become the mistress of their landlord, Laura began to pray for her mother’s conversion and perform acts of penance, and—also desirous of becoming a nun—she made private vows, under her confessor’s guidance. Finally, she offered God her life as an ultimate sacrifice for her mother’s conversion. When she fell gravely ill, she revealed this to her mother and then had the joy of seeing her renounce her sinful way of life and be reconciled with God.

During the centennial year of Don Bosco’s death (1988), Pope John Paul II beatified Laura at the great youth gathering at Don Bosco’s birthplace near Castelnuovo Don Bosco.