Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena
|Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena|
|Virgin and Foundress of The Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena|
May 26, 1874|
Jericó, United States of Colombia
|Died||October 21, 1949
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Beatified||25 April 2004, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II|
|Canonized||12 May 2013, Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City by Pope Francis|
|Patronage||People suffering from racial discrimination, Orphans, Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of Saint Catherine of Siena|
Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena (May 26, 1874 – October 21, 1949) born as María Laura Montoya Upegui, was a Colombian nun. In 1914 she founded the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena. She was known for her work with Indigenous peoples, and as a strong role model for South American girls. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004. Laura was canonized by Pope Francis on 12 May 2013, along with Antonio Primaldo and his companions and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala. Laura is the first Colombian to be made a Roman Catholic saint.
Maria Laura Montoya y Upeguí was born on May 26, 1874 in Jericó, Antioquia, United States of Colombia, the second of three children to Juan de la Crux Montoya and Dolores Upegui. During the Colombian Civil War of 1876, her father was killed, and the family was left in poverty. So, Laura was sent to live with her grandmother.
When Laura was 16, to help her family in its financial difficulties and she applied at "Normale de Institutoras" of Medellín to receive training to become an elementary school teacher. She was educated at the Holy Spirit School in Amalfi, Colombia, and then in Medellín, Colombia.
Beginning in 1908, she worked as missionary to the natives in the Uraba and Sarare regions where she founded the Works of the Indians.
Even though she wanted to become a cloistered Carmelite nun, she felt growing within her the desire to spread the Gospel to those who had never met Jesus Christ. Laura wanted to destroy this racial discrimination and to personally sacrifice herself in order to bring them Christ's love and teaching.
On 14 May 1914, she started the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of Saint Catherine of Siena. She left Medellín with four other young women and went to Dabeiba to live among the native Indians. Even though this new Congregation had the support of the Bishop of Santa Fe de Antioquia, it was severely criticized even within the Christian community itself.
She died after a prolonged illness on October 21, 1949 in Medellín, Colombia. The last nine years of her life were lived in a wheelchair. Today her Missionary Sisters work in 19 countries throughout America, Africa and Europe.
Pope John Paul II through a decree of heroic virtues declared her as venerable on 22 January 1991 and beatified her on 25 April 2004. The beatification miracle involved the 1994 cure of an 86 year old woman with uterine cancer. Laura was canonized by Pope Francis on May 12, 2013. The canonization miracle involves the healing of Dr. Carlos Eduardo Restrepo, who was suffering from lupus, kidney damage and muscular degeneration. After praying to Blessed Laura, the doctor was said to be completely cured.
- "Laura Montoya Upegui (1874-1949), biography". Vatican News Services. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- D'Emilio, Frances. "Pope Francis gives church hundreds of new saints". Associated Press. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
- "Colombia's first saint a trailblazing champion of the indigenous". Fox News. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Saint Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena. Saints.SQPN.com. 12 February 2013. Web. 19 February 2013.". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Miracle could allow canonization of first Colombian-born saint". Retrieved 21 November 2014.