Saints and Theology of the Heart - Bl. Laura Vicuña


Feast: January 22


"Eucharistic flower of Junin de Los Andes, whose life was a poem of purity, sacrifice, and filial love." - Words of Pope John Paul II at her canonization

Blessed Laura Vicuña was born in Santiago, Chile April 5th 1891. He parents were Joseph Domenico and Mercedes Pino. The family played a role in the Chilean government and when the revolution began her family went into exile. They moved to Temuco to seek refuge. Joseph died soon after they moved to Temuco when Laura was two. After the death of her father, Laura’s mother took her and her little sister to Argentina. When they began living in Argentina, her mother met a man named Manuel Mora. Mercedes decided to take a job working for him, but the family also began living with him.

When Laura was old enough she went boarding school run by religious of the congregation of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, with her sister, Julia Amanda. Laura was very good in school. She prayed, listened well to the Sisters, and she was always available to her classmates. She was known to be a very happy young girl.

In 1901 she made her first communion. When she made her first communion she wrote in her journal, "O my God, I want to love You and serve You all my life. I give you my soul, my heart, my whole self." When Laura was in catechesis one day a sister was explaining to the class about the sacrament of marriage. During this lesson Laura began to see that her mother was living in a sinful state. She fainted because of this realization. In that moment she made the decision to make many prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of her mother. In 1902 Manuel Mora, the man her mother was living with, threatened Laura’s purity. She refused to allow him to do so. This made Manuel Mora very angry. After this he refused to pay for Laura’s fees at boarding school.

She was able to go back to the school as a student assistant. She desired with all her heart to become a Daughter of Mary, Help of Christians, but she was denied entrance because her mother was living in so much sin. Laura continued to offer her life for her mother’s conversion. She became more self-sacrificing. Eventually her confessor, Father Crestanello, allowed her to make private vows to the Lord.

After making her private vows her health began to decline from the sacrifices she was making for her mother and the other sickness. Her mother begged her to return home because of her sickness. The superior told Laura that she needed to return home.  When she was home, Mora again threatened her purity. Her mother also noticed this behavior and packed up with the girls and moved to Junin. On January 14th Mora came into town angry and drunk. He wanted Mercedes and the girls to return to the ranch with him after he stayed the night at the little place in Junin. When Laura heard of this she said “If he stays, I will go.” She immediately left. Mora followed her and her mother yelled for her to run. She tried to run to safety, but she was too weak because of her sickness. He caught her and began whipping and kicking her in the street. When some men came running out of nearby houses he tried to lay her across his horse, but he then threw her back onto the street and rode away. On her last night she told her mother of her desire for her mother’s conversion. She told her about all she had been offering to the Lord so that she would return to God.

Her mother told Laura that she would return to God. Laura died happy because all her sacrifices were bearing the fruit she had prayed for. Laura died on January 22nd 1904. Her body is in the chapel of the Salesian Sisters of Bahia Blanca. Laura Vicuña was beatified by Pope John Paul II September 3rd, 1988.


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