Laura was born in Santiago, Chile in 1891. Her father was a soldier. When civil war broke out, her father took Laura and her mother to another town across the mountains in Argentina so that they would be safe. Laura’a father died when she was only two years old.
Laura’s mother, Mercedes, had to find some way to support Laura and her new baby sister. After working as a cook for several years, she met a wealthy ranch owner named Manuel Mora. Mora promised Mercedes that if she came to live with him, he would send Laura to a boarding school taught by nuns. Mora did not promise to marry Laura’s mother.
Laura loved school. She was smart and did well. She loved learning about her faith. On the day of her First Communion, she wrote “Oh, my God, I want to love and serve you all my life” in her notebook. Her happiness turned to worry when she returned home for a visit.
Her mother and Mr. Mora were living as a married couple. Laura knew that this was a sin. She prayed that her mother would leave Mora and begin to live God’s Commandments again.
Laura returned to school. She told a priest that she wanted permission to join the convent. Although the priest believed the girl had a true calling from God, he told her that she was too young and would have to wait until she was older to make such an important decision.
Some time later Laura visited her mother again. Mora got drunk and tried to touch Laura impurely. Laura ran away, but Mora caught her. He beat her badly and left her unconscious on the road. Laura died a week later.
We pray that Blessed Laura Vicuna will one day be made a saint. Her example teaches us to respect our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.