The recent publication of an actual photo of Blessed Laura Vicuna, patron of abuse victims, has prompted plans to modify a mural of the young Chilean painted on the outside wall of a shrine dedicated in her honor.
The current mural, painted by Italian artist Caffaro Rore shows her as a young girl with European features.
According to a press release, the mural will be modified by Argentinean architect Alejandro Santana, known for his work on both the Cathedral of Bariloche and the life-sized Stations of the Cross in Junin de los Andes – both located in Argentina.
Santana told the Chilean daily “El Mercurio” that “the photo that has just been made public is very revealing, and it shows many things, particularly her tearful eyes.”
“This picture really conveys what Laura Vicuna experienced,” said Santana. “I will try to portray a Laura who suffered her entire life, who was deprived of a father, a family, good health and a true picture of her face after her death.”
Laura Vicuna was born in Santiago, Chile on April 5, 1891. Her father died when she was only two and her mother had trouble making ends meet. She decided to move to Argentina with her two children.
According to the Salesian Sisters of John Bosco, once the family moved to Argentina, Laura realized that her mother had distanced herself from God and was living with a farmer named Manuel Mora. This caused Laura a lot of angst, so she offered her life to God for the conversion of her mother.
Over summer break in 1902, when she was 11-years-old, Manuel Mora tried to abuse Laura. She resisted, which angered him and he stopped giving her the money needed to attend a school run by the Salesian sisters. The sisters, however, allowed her to continue going to school, free of charge.
Then, on January 22, 1904, affected by the cold, harsh winter, Laura died in Junín, Argentina. God fulfilled his half of the bargain, and her mother was converted.
On September 3, 1988, Pope John Paul II declared Laura Vicuna a blessed.
Bishop Felipe Bacarreza Rodriguez of Santa Maria de los Angeles in Chile, said the traditional representation of Blessed Laura “was a good idea given the lack of a true picture of her.” However, he explained, now that an actual photo of her has been found, the old mural will have to be replaced.
The bishop noted that the actual photo of Blessed Laura shows a face that is “more serious, more profound, and has features that reflect the life of Laura.” He added that the recently-discovered photo “will inspire greater devotion to her.”