Oil Dedicated to Blessed Laura Vicuna
Blessed Laura Vicuna was a Chilean child who was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. She is the patron of abuse victims, having herself experienced physical abuse.
Escape from Chile
Laura del Carmen Vicuña was born on April 5, 1891, in Santiago, Chile, to José Domingo and Mercedes Pino. The Vicuña family were Chilean aristocrats, the father in military service and the mother working at home. Forced out of Santiago by the revolution, the family took refuge in Temuco, but soon after José Domingo died suddenly and Mercedes went to live with her two daughters in Argentina.
Mercedes and her daughters moved to the Argentine province of Neuquén. In search of a way to finance her daughters’ education, Mercedes took a job in the Quilquihué Hostel. The owner of the hostel, Manuel Mora, propositioned Mercedes, promising to pay for Laura’s education in exchange. Laura soon entered the Hijas de Maria Auxiliadora (“Daughters of Mary Help of Christians”) School, where, under the care of the nuns, she began to take a deep interest in the Catholic faith.
During one of her school vacations, Laura was beaten twice by Manuel Mora, who wanted her to forget about becoming a nun. She held to this desire even when Mora stopped paying for her education, and when the nuns at her school learned of the conflict, they gave Laura and her sister scholarships. Although she was grateful to her teachers, she still worried about her mother’s situation.
Bernhard Maier, following the work of Ciro Brugna, says that Laura’s popular biographies need revision. Among the points needing revision the following: that her parents never married; that her father did not die before the mother left Chile with the two children; and that Laura offered her life for both her parents, as transpires in the notes left by her close friend Maria Mercedes Vera.
The Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco 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.