Bahía Blanca (Argentina). September 3, 2021 is the 33rd anniversary of the beatification of Laura Vicuña, which took place on 3 September 1988, the centenary of Don Bosco’s death, on the ‘Hill of Youth Beatitudes’, in Castelnuovo Don Bosco (Asti).
In the presence of thousands of young people participating in Confrontation ’88 of the Salesian Youth Movement (SYM), she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and proposed to young people as a model of evangelical coherence up to the gift of life.
Of Chilean origin, Laura Vicuña met the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Junín de los Andes, Argentina, where she attended the Sisters’ School. In the homily of her beatification, the Holy Father highlights, “Little Laura soon found a spiritual refuge with the Salesian Sisters, in the small boarding school for girls in Junín de Los Andes. Here she prepared for First Communion and Confirmation; and here she was inflamed with love for Jesus, so much so that she decided to consecrate her life to Him.”
At the School she matured her journey of holiness in everyday life, up to the choice of giving herself for the conversion of her mother, which led her to be born into heaven on 22 January 1904, at the age of 13. Her body is now in the FMA Chapel of St. Francis Xavier Province (ABB) in Bahía Blanca (Argentina), the destination of many pilgrims.
On 22 August 2021, the casket with the remains of Laura Vicuña was moved to a new space, which was refurbished to be a Spirituality Center in Bahía Blanca. “It will be a place to meet her, love her, pray to her, and invoke her intercession”, explained Sister Silvia Heit, FMA who accompanies this process.
The idea of the Spirituality Center was born at the suggestion of the Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, on a visit to Bahía Blanca and of the Bishop, who urged the creation of a space to promote knowledge and love of Laura, with direct access for everyone.
The new Spirituality Center, dedicated to prayer, reflection, and sharing of experiences regarding the Blessed, will be added to that of Junín de los Andes. Sr. Silvia Heit is in charge of the formation of a group of Volunteers who by studying Laura’s life and spirituality, are preparing to be guides for visitors to the Center.
In the Year of the Family Amoris Laetitia, special year to grow in family love, Laura Vicuña is, as St. John Paul II recalled in the homily of Beatification, a radiant reference for families and young people:
“The rite of ‘beatification’, which we are celebrating with so much joy and solemnity in this place where a story of holiness originates, a place rightly called ‘the hill of youth beatitudes’, must also make us reflect on the importance of the family in the education of children and the right they have to live in a normal family, which is a place of mutual love and human and Christian formation. It is a call for modern society itself to be increasingly considerate of the family institution and the education of young people.”
On 3 September 2021 at 19:00 (Argentine time), live on Facebook from the FMA Chapel of Bahía Blanca, the Eucharistic Celebration will be broadcast on the 33rd anniversary of Laura’s Beatification.