Sunday 1st August 2021

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Laura Of St. Catherine Of Siena

October 17, 2019 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

There was a woman who possessed classic beauty. Although her looks were not outstanding, she emanated an interior serenity and peace that enhanced her features. Her eyes were alight with wisdom, her forehead free from the lines of anxiety and stress. Her mouth was smooth and always carried a hint of a smile as is common with those who are filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Like her namesake, she loved our Lord and she greatly admired that Italian woman who became a bride of Christ, St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380).
Juan de la Cruz, a doctor and merchant, married Dolores Montoya Upegui. They had three children: Carmelia, Juan de la Cruz, and another daughter, the middle child, born on May 26, 1874. On the day of her birth, they took her to the church to be baptized, giving her the name Maria Laura de Jesus Montoya Upegui.
Laura was born in Jerico, Antioquia, Colombia, about 200 miles northwest of Bogota. At the time of her birth, the conflict leading to the Colombian Civil War of 1876 was intensifying. The Colombian Liberal Party was agitating to lift the education of the people from the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. They wanted the government to control the education.
During this time, Laura’s father, Juan de la Cruz, left to fight in the war. Whether he died as a result of the conflict or was murdered is uncertain. However, it is known that after his death, the assets of the family were looted. This left the family impoverished with no means of support.
Dolores sent Laura to live her grandfather, Lucio Upegui, and her grandmother. The situation was not ideal and Laura felt unwanted and unloved, abandoned by her family. Her relationship with Christ grew as she meditated on Sacred Scripture and received Holy Communion frequently. She also found much comfort in uniting her sacrifices and loneliness with the sufferings of Christ.
Five years after joining her grandparents, Laura was sent to an orphanage that her mother’s sister, Sr. Maria de Jesus Upegui, managed. Then when Laura was 16 years old, her aunt enrolled her in the Normale de Institutoras of Medellin, a school for privileged children. Despite her lack of refinement and of a formal education, Laura excelled.
One account states that she was not welcomed at the school because of her poverty. Thus she went to an asylum to work with her aunt who was the director.
Ultimately, she graduated in 1893 and began teaching in various parts of her native land, Antioquia. She taught academic subjects as well as the catechism, seeking to spread the Good News of the Gospel.
Eventually Laura became the director of a highly regarded Catholic school. Though the Civil War had ended, the enemies of the Church did not rest. They managed a smear campaign against the school, which resulted in its closing.
About this time, Laura learned about the encyclical of Pope St. Pius X, Lacrimabili Statu, issued on June 7, 1912. This deplored the treatment of natives in South America — slavery, impoverishment, and inhumane treatment, which was against all Church teaching. He implored priests and religious to address this tragic situation and bring the Gospel to the indigenous peoples of the New World.
Laura was greatly inspired by this missive of Pope St. Pius X and, recalling her hope to become a religious after caring for her aunt, became determined to help the natives. Unlike some, she did not seek to turn the natives into replicas of the elite. Rather, she met them where they were, accepting their dress, their language, and much of their culture.
Many congregations and Church leaders as well as civil authorities refused to assist her in her quest to evangelize the people. They were especially reluctant to traipse through the jungles in the interior of the country.
Such rejection did not deter Laura. She realized that if such work were to be done as she envisioned, she must find a way to do it herself. Thus, Laura began looking for like-minded women who would share in her mission.
Laura sought those ladies who would willingly meet with blacks, indigenous, and marginalized persons. Having lived in poverty and suffered humiliations, she embraced the simple life with a heroic charity.
Laura gathered six women to share in the work, one of whom was her 78-year-old mother — still in robust health and active. They sold crafts to raise money for their apostolate and happily received the approval of the bishop of Santa Fe de Antioquia, who also gave them financial support.
Overcoming many obstacles, they ventured through the tropical heat and virgin jungles to the village of Dabeiba, about 155 miles north of Jerico. They arrived on May 14, 1914. The people were skeptical of these strange white women since white men had treated them so badly.
However, they made progress when the people realized they were there to teach them, live with them, and care for them as equals, not as condescending benefactors. The ladies taught them that they were human beings deserving to be treated with respect and dignity.
Unsurprisingly, the wealthy farmers resented the work that was preventing them from mistreating the natives and seizing their lands.
Following the advice of the bishop, Laura founded a religious community: the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena on May 14, 1917. This new congregation of sisters broke the old stereotype of missionary work, proving that women also have special gifts for nurturing the faith and elevating marginalized peoples.
From 1917 to 1949 Mother Laura of St. Catherine of Siena opened houses throughout the jungle to help the natives. The sisters willingly made the difficult transition from comfortable living to the challenges of living in the jungles.
Soon the sisters were working throughout Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Later they were established in 19 countries on three continents.
In 1939 the president of Colombia awarded Mother Laura the Cross of Boyaca in the category of caballero — the equivalent of a knight.
As her health began to decline, Mother Laura spent the last nine years of her life in a wheelchair, beset with ulcers and in great pain. She became bedridden, but consoled all who came to her bedside to console her. She died on October 21, 1949.
Pope St. John Paul II beatified Laura in 2004, and Pope Benedict XVI approved her canonization, which was celebrated in St. Peter’s Square by Pope Francis in 2013. St. Laura of Catherine of Siena was the first canonized woman of Colombia. Her feast day is October 21.
The words that best described St. Laura’s goal were “to make the joy of the Gospel radiate through our words and in the witness of our life, wherever we find ourselves.”
Dear St. Laura, in these days where so many souls do not know about the love that Christ has for them, help us to possess the apostolic zeal you had to save souls, to meet people where they are and to accept them as they are, and to love them as Christ told us to love them. “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Amen.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Pro-Life Group Calls for Removing Fauci After He's Caught Funding Aborted Baby Parts - https://t.co/kqxQXGgoG8

LifeNews.com - The Pro-Life News Source

.

LifeNews.com

Kamala Harris Skips Border Crisis But Picks Up A Rosary - https://t.co/U1Mv6WdjUD

Load More...

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The Misleading AP Attack on the Catholic Church for Accepting COVID Relief

In early 2020, a pandemic came to America. We started staying home, then we were ordered to stay home. The market tanked. The economy tanked. Unemployment soared. You remember all this, because you lived it. We all did. Congress created a…Continue Reading

Catholic bishop released five days after kidnapping in Nigeria

CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Adopt A Center

Today . . .

Bishop Paprocki: “The problem has not been solved, but tensions have been heightened.”

“It is a mistaken notion that those who attend [the Traditional Latin Mass] are merely nostalgic; that has not been my experience at all…” says the Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois. “Anyone who thinks that when the older generation dies off that the Latin Mass will fade away is not being realistic.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke . . . Statement on the Motu Proprio «Traditionis Custodes»

Many faithful – laity, ordained and consecrated – have expressed to me the profound distress which the Motu Proprio «Traditionis Custodes» has brought them. Those who are attached to the Usus Antiquior (More Ancient Usage) [UA], what Pope Benedict XVI called the Extraordinary Form, of the Roman Rite are deeply disheartened by the severity of the discipline which the Motu Proprio imposes and offended by the language it employs to describe them, their attitudes and their conduct.…Continue Reading

Catholic Bishop Denies Democrat Politician Communion Because He Supports Killing Babies in Abortions

A pro-abortion New Mexico lawmaker reportedly was denied communion over the weekend by Catholic Bishop Peter Baldacchino of Las Cruces. The Daily Caller reports New Mexico state Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, said Saturday that the bishop refused to allow him to participate in the sacrament because of his “political office.” “I was denied communion last night by the Catholic bishop here in Las Cruces and based on my political office,” Cervantes wrote on Twitter. “My new parish priest has indicated he will do the…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone: Traditional Latin Mass will continue in San Francisco

San Francisco, Calif., Jul 16, 2021 / 13:03 pm As diocesan bishops consider how to implement Pope Francis’ motu proprio on the use of the Traditional Latin Mass, the Archbishop of San Franciso has said it will continue to be available in his local Church. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco told CNA July 16 that “The Mass is a miracle in any form: Christ comes to us in the flesh under the appearance of…Continue Reading

From Fr. Z’s Blog . . . Motu Proprio Day . . . Much more to Follow

Rome, 16 July 2021 Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, Just as my Predecessor Benedict XVI did with Summorum Pontificum, I wish to accompany the Motu proprio Traditionis custodes with a letter explaining the motives that prompted my decision. I turn to you with trust and parresia, in the name of that shared “solicitude for the whole Church, that contributes supremely to the good of the Universal Church” as Vatican Council II reminds us.[1]

The Importance Of Humor In A Time Like This

By DONALD DeMARCO “Do not abandon yourselves to despair,” said Pope St. John Paul II. “We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Such a joyful declaration should give all of us renewed hope. And our hallelujah song should be a happy heart that is filled with merriment.In his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas…Continue Reading

Why The Left Can’t Let Go Of January 6

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN To understand what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee investigation of the Capitol Hill events of January 6 is all about, a good place to begin is with the sentencing hearing the past week of Paul Hodgkins.A crane operator from Tampa, Florida, Hodgkins, 38, pleaded guilty to a single count of…Continue Reading

Root Causes Underlie Cuban Crisis

By JOHN J. METZLER NEW YORK — Cuba’s ongoing political and social upheaval has shocked many observers as a sudden and intense summer storm. Across the island in small towns and provincial centers protests erupted like a squall line until reaching the capital, Havana. Tropical storm “Liberdad” was lashing the island of Cuba while its…Continue Reading

For Strident Times . . . How The Liturgy Is Healing Medicine

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this commentary on July 13 and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + One of the most concise and cogent descriptions of these often strident times came from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in 1986. It is contained in, of all places, his treatise on the…Continue Reading

Alliance Defending Freedom… Calls For End To Religious Persecution In Nigeria

WASHINGTON, D.C. — ADF International on July 14 hosted a dinner event on the grave challenges facing Nigeria regarding the protection of religious freedom. Governmental and civil society advocates for the persecuted in Nigeria shared firsthand expertise and proposed actions to address the violence and discrimination perpetrated by groups such as Boko Haram and the…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Due to the pandemic, we were unable to hold weekly classes for 22 tenth-grade Confirmation students, so we prepared a series of 14 lessons on the material, along with some questions to answer. If these lessons are of value to you, put them to whatever use you can. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column…Continue Reading

Traditionis Custodes: Opportunity For Mercy

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK As one of the two parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington that offer the Traditional Latin Mass daily, my majority-traditional church family is now in a quite vulnerable condition after the publication of the motu proprio Traditionis custodes (TC).Following the 2007 publication of Summorum Pontificum I was sent in 2010 as pastor to St. Francis…Continue Reading

Cardinal Zen Decries Pope’s Motu Proprio

Joseph Cardinal Zen, in a statement translated by Diane Montagna, denounced Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis’ motu proprio on the liturgy.His statement was entitled, “Why Do They See a Problem Where There Is None and Close Their Eyes to the Problem for Which They, Too, Are Responsible?”Cardinal Zen recalled how he warned about a document against the Traditional Mass in his…Continue Reading

Live As Christians, Not Pagans

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15Eph. 4:17, 20-24John 6:24-35 In the second reading today St. Paul tells the Ephesians that they are no longer to live as the Gentiles do. Considering that the people to whom he was writing were Gentile converts, it makes sense that he would need to instruct…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Due to the pandemic, we were unable to hold weekly classes for 22 tenth-grade Confirmation students, so we prepared a series of 14 lessons on the material, along with some questions to answer. If these lessons are of value to you, put them to whatever use you can. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Callistus

By DEB PIROCH Memory can be fleeting — ashes to ashes and dust to dust. But to God, no one is forgotten, every soul remains forever mirrored in His mind’s eye. And the redeemed all belong to the Communion of Saints. Even more amazing is when someone is known long after one’s death, despite the fickleness of history.Such is the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Teresa Of Calcutta

By DEB PIROCH Long before Princess Diana hugged AIDS victims, a diminutive nun no one had heard of from Macedonia rescued her first dying man from the gutter. Carrying him back with her, she washed his wounds and removed maggots, covered him in clean sheets and gave him water. And he said, “I have lived like an animal, but I…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)