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Father Anthony Ho

Laura receives crown of stars after Communion

Voices Feb. 27, 2019

The only known photo of Laura Vicuña, the little girl in the centre of the photo, shown with pupils and staff of the Salesian school she attended. Troubled by her mother’s living situation, Laura called the boarding school her “favourite place.” (Salesians of Don Bosco)

It 1901, the first year in school for Blessed Laura Vicuña at the Salesian school in Junin, Argentina, and Laura received prizes for conduct as well as for hard work and application. 

After the awards ceremony, students were to return to their homes. Laura returned to the ranch at Quilquihué, where her mother, Mercedes and Manuel Mora, although not married with each other, lived as a married couple.

Laura did not like it there, for she sensed the moral danger present and felt sad that her mother was living in sin. She would seek refuge in prayer as often as she could.

When it was time to return to the boarding school, Laura jumped for joy and said, “I am going back to my favourite place!”

The Religious Superior at the school sensed that Laura had secret sadness in her heart. In order to comfort her, the Superior let Laura and two companions be admitted to receiving First Holy Communion. When the Superior told Laura the good news, Laura remained speechless. She immediately thought about Quilquihué and her mother and broke into sobs.

The Sister asked, “Crying, Laura? Are you not happy?”

Laura answered, “O yes, I am happy, I am thinking of my mother, my poor mother.”

Laura’s confessor, Father Augusto Crestanello, SDB, observed: “She had always been obedient and submissive, affable and humble, but after that day one noted a greater perfection in her actions.”

Laura loved going to confession frequently. When her sister poked fun at her for her frequent confessions she replied, “Afterwards I feel stronger against temptation, and everything becomes easier.”

Laura received first Holy Communion on June 2. Her mother, Mercedes, arrived the day before. When Laura was told that her mother was in the parlour, she ran and threw her arms around her saying, “Mother! Tomorrow I will be making my first Holy Communion. Forgive the displeasures I have given you. If in the past I have been naughty, from now on I want to be your consolation. I will pray for you.” Then she began to cry.

Laura made the following resolutions for her first Holy Communion:

1. O my God, I want to love and serve you all my life, so I give you my heart and my soul, my whole being.

2. I want to die rather than offend you by sin, so I intend to mortify myself in all that might take me away from you.

3. I propose to do all I can that you may be known and loved, and to repair the offences which you receive each day, especially from the members of my own family.

4. My God, give me a life of love, of mortification, of sacrifice!

Francesca Mendoza, a young lady who had joined the Sisters, testified under oath that observing Laura as she came back to her kneeler after Communion, she noticed a crown of three stars on her head.

Laura lived at the boarding school with a spirit of prayer and sacrifice. The Superior of the school observed: “No one could ever accuse Laura of consciously breaking the rule. Everyone noticed her constant effort to grow in perfection.”

One time, Laura’s friend, Merceditas, was upset that Laura was being humiliated by another student. But Laura said, “Didn’t they dress Jesus up as a fool? Why shouldn’t I accept a little humiliation, being so naughty?”

Laura and Merceditas were given beetroot to eat three times a week. Neither of them liked the food, and their friends offered to eat their share. However, Laura said, “No, our obedience must be perfect. Jesus suffered so much for us on the Cross!”


                                        羅拉初領聖體  

阿根廷屬南半球,每年十二月到三月是夏天,是學生放暑假的季節。當真福羅拉.庇賦妮婭於1901年1月1日在母佑會學校完成第一個學年課程時,在品行、勤奮和學習上,都取得了獎項。

頒獎儀式過後,學生都各自歸家渡暑假;羅拉當然是回到安第斯山脈胡寧的奎爾基衛牧場,和母親梅西德詩及她同居的曼奴埃耳.莫拉先生同住。看到母親與一位男士姘居,羅拉內心甚是不安,住在喪失道德的屋簷下,她只好在頻密的祈禱中,尋找避難所。

終於捱過了暑假,又是回到校園的日子,羅拉不禁雀躍說:「我又可以返回我鍾愛的地方了!」。

學校修女院長觀察到羅拉內心藏著隱哀,設法安慰她,打算准許她和兩位同學初領聖體。院長向羅拉道出這好消息,羅拉卻沉默不語,居然飲泣起來。修女見狀,吃驚地問:「羅拉,你不高興嗎?為什麼哭呢?」羅拉答道:「噢,我很高興!不過,我想起了我的母親。可憐的母親。」

姬思坦彌路神父細意觀察過羅拉,評論說:「羅拉常是聽命服從的,她和藹謙遜;自那天開始,覺察到她在行為上有更大的完美。」

羅拉勤辦告解。妹妹嬉笑她時,她回應道:「每次告解後,我覺得能更強地抵抗誘惑變,一切事都更容易。」

6月2日羅拉初領聖體,她的母親梅西德詩前一天來到學校探望。羅拉知悉母親在客廳,飛奔到母親懷中,緊抱母親,說:「媽媽,明天我要初領聖體了。請你原諒我曾使你不愉快的。若以前我曾淘氣,由現在起我要成為你的安慰。我會為你祈禱!」然後她哭起來。

為了預備初領聖體,羅拉定了以下的志向:

  1. 噢,我的天主!我要終生愛祢、侍奉祢;我把我心、我靈、我的整個,奉獻給祢。
  2. 我寧願死,也不願意犯罪得罪祢。為此,在一切可能使我遠離祢的事上我要克制自己。
  3. 我要盡我所能去使人認識和愛慕祢,並賠補祢每日遭受到的冒犯 ── 特別是來自我家庭的成員。
  4. 我的天主,請賜給我富於仁愛、克苦和犧牲的生命!

方濟雅.蔓度莎是一位加入修院的年青女士,她起誓見證,稱羅拉領聖體後返到跪凳時,頭上出現了三顆星的冠。

羅拉在學校寄宿,渡祈禱及犧牲的生活。學校院長觀察到:「沒有人能指責羅拉故意觸犯校規,每一個人都注意到她不斷地努力漸瑧完美。」

有一次,同學兼友人梅詩德戴斯奚,因羅拉被人羞辱而為她感到難受;不過,羅拉說:「耶穌不是曾被打扮穿著像個傻子嗎?頑皮的我,難道就不能承受一些屈辱嗎?」

修女每星期三次給羅拉和她的友人紅菜頭作菜膳,她們二人均不喜歡吃紅菜頭。別人都表示樂意替她們把紅菜頭吃掉。但羅拉說:「不,我們的聽命應該是完美的,耶穌為我們在十字架上受了很多苦!」