Blessed Laura Vicuña
Blessed Laura Vicuña is the patron of abuse victims. Born in Chile in 1891 to Chilean aristocrats, Laura's father was a soldier at the time of the outbreak of civil war. When Laura's father was killed, her mother Mercedes fled through the Andes into Argentina with her two daughters. In search of a way to finance her daughters' education, she took a job in the Quilquihué Hostel. The owner of the Hostel, Manuel Mora propositioned Mercedes promising to pay for Laura's education, and in exchange Laura's mother would live as his mistress. Laura attended the boarding school, and with the care of the nuns, began to take a deep interest in the Catholic faith. When Laura made her First Communion on 2 June 1901, she promised to devote her entire life to God.
Laura soon realized a call to religious life. However, when Laura returned home for the Christmas holidays, Manuel Mora beat her when she refused his sexual advances and his attempts to dissuade her from becoming a nun. She was forced to flee the house to avoid him. Even when he stopped paying for her education, she held to her desire to become a nun. When the nuns at her school learned of the conflict, they gave her a scholarship. Although she was grateful to her teachers, she was still worried about her mother's situation. She prayed to be spared the life her mother was leading, and offered her own life if her and her mother could escape from it. Although she was too young to join the Salesians she asked her confessor again for permission to join and because Laura's confessor was convinced of her true call, he permitted it. She joined the Sodality of the Children of Mary on 8 December 1901. In late 1903, Laura became severely ill, and returned to her mother. On 14 January 1904, in a drunken rage, Mora beat Laura unconscious. Though she recovered consciousness, Laura never recovered her health, dying eight days later from a combination of the disease and abuse. When Mercedes learned of her daughter’s offer to die for her, Laura’s mother left Mora and returned to the Church.
Blessed Laura Vicuña, pray for us!