After her father's sudden death, her mother, with her two daughters, sought refuge in Argentina. In 1900 the Salesian Sisters welcomed her into their college in Junin de los Andes. The following year she made her First Communion and, like St. Dominic Savio, she took the resolution to love God with her whole heart, to mortify herself and to die rather than sin, to make Jesus known and make reparation for the offences He receives. When she realised that her mother was living in a sinful situation, she offered her life to God for her conversion.
Her first biographer, Fr. Crestanello, tells us: "Laura suffered secretly in her heart… One day she decided to offer her life and to accept death willingly, in exchange for the salvation of her mother. She begged me to bless this ardent desire of hers. I hesitated for a long time."
She increased her asceticism and, with the consent of her confessor, privately vowed to live the evangelical counsels. Worn out with sacrifice and ill health, she died in Junin de los Andes (Argentina) on January 22, 1904.
During her last night, she confided to her mother: "Mommy, I am dying! I asked this of Jesus, some time ago, and offered my life to him for you, that you might return to God… Mommy, before I die, will you not give me the joy of seeing you repent?" On the day of Laura's funeral, her mother returned to the Sacraments and began a new life. Her remains lie in the chapel of the Salesian Sisters in Bahia Blanca (Argentina).
On September 3, 1988, on the Young People's mount of the Beatitudes, in the presence of thousands of young participants in the Confronto '88 Pope John Paul II beatified her. He proposed her as a model of evangelical coherence, to the point of giving one's life, for the mission of salvation. Her memory is celebrated on January 22.
Prayers and Thoughts from B. Laura Vicuña
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