Junín de los Andes (Argentina). On 22 January 2022, the birth into heaven of Blessed Laura Vicuña, the fruit of youthful holiness of the Salesian Preventive System, is celebrated. Sr. Susana Billordo and Sr. Silvia Dupont, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Argentine Provinces of St. Francis de Sales (ABA) and St. Francis Xavier (ABB), through some passages of their book “Laura Vicuña. Transforming pain into love”, capture some characteristics of Salesian Spirituality which are reflected in Laura’s life:
The context of the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (1872-2022) invites us to look with gratitude at the youthful holiness that the Founders dreamed of. Thus, we can find in Blessed Laura Vicuña Pino (1891-1904), whose birth to heaven is remembered on January 22, a welcome fruit of the Preventive System which, at a very young age, matured her for heaven!
From her deep and intimate encounter with Jesus, Laura understood and lived the engine of Salesian Spirituality: contemplation in action. She managed to live according to the guidelines that the Holy Spirit breathes from within, so that everything is lived in God, in her Love of Him.
Salesian Youth Spirituality is a specific proposal of holiness, lived in an environment full of values, in the style of the Preventive System. It is a spirituality that places everyday life at the center, in the light of the Mystery of God. It is rooted in the love of life and in the commitment to make it “full and abundant for all”, especially for the poorest. Laura chose a way of living Christian spirituality. In her daily life, we find clear reflections of some of the fundamental characteristics of Salesian Spirituality.
Laura chooses to live with Jesus. (…)Prayer strengthens her intimacy with him; she experiences the awareness of being loved. (…) Laura accepts the invitation to live with and like Jesus; she does not want to imitate Him only in her gestures, but assumes His attitudes, His choices … to the point of giving herself, like the Good Shepherd who says, “No one takes my life, I offer it by myself “(Jn 10:18).
“For me it’s the same praying or working, praying or playing, praying or sleeping. By doing what I am asked to do, I do what God wants me to do, and this is what I want to do; this is my best. prayer“. It is not easy to arrive at this synthesis between prayer and life. It is a grace. (…)
“It seems to me”, said Laura, “that it is God himself who keeps the memory of His Divine Presence alive in me.” It is the experience of ‘union with God’, lived as a gift, as the fruit of God’s love in her. It is the certainty of a God experienced as close, present, and active.
In the moments close to Laurita’s death, the theologian Felix de Valois Ortiz goes to see her and reports this testimony, “I went to her bed, I asked her several questions … and seeing her smile, I asked her what gave her more joy in a such a critical moment. And she, still smiling, almost whispered in my ear, “What comforts me most at this moment is that I have always been devoted to Mary. Oh yes, she is my Mother, she is my Mother, and nothing makes me so happy as thinking that I am Mary’s daughter”. This devotion is the source of inspiration for her style of holiness. (…)
Like Don Bosco, who at the end of his life exclaims, “It is She who did everything”, Laura looks back and sees the presence of Mary who always accompanies her, acts, and helps her. “She is my Mother”, she repeats.
Cheerfulness – Happiness
Laura embodies the spirituality of joy that Mother Mazzarello proposes by saying, “Joy is the sign of a heart that loves Jesus very much”. This is what Laura experienced. Even at the end of her life, her words are “Thank you Jesus, thank you Mary, I am dying happy”, a phrase that is the synthesis of her life.
Friendship – community experience
Don Bosco saw in young people the need to relate to others, so he wanted them to form groups as friends among themselves and friends in Jesus. He created the Society of Joy among his boys. In Laura’s time, there were various groups in the school: Little Angels, Dames of the Sacred Heart, Daughters of Mary. Laurita went through all of these groups. What stimulated her the most on her journey of sanctification was undoubtedly the association of the Daughters of Mary. (…)
Laurita is a clear example of how these proposals to enter associations, to have new relationships, to be part of a community, are opportunities to promote a path of holiness together with others. Our spirituality is a journey, a proposal of holiness for today.