Defender of Indian's Rights, Mother Laura Might Soon Be Beatified

Colombian Nun Evangelized Indians of Uraba and Sarare Jungles

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VATICAN CITY, AUGUST 1, 2003 (ZENIT.org).- Colombian Mother Laura of St. Catherine of Sienna, a nun who "became an Indian with the Indians to win them all for Christ," might become a blessed.



The Holy See officially recognized a miracle attributed to her intercession on July 7, opening the doors to beatification. Speaking before John Paul II, Cardinal Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints said: "In her youth she was dedicated to teaching, but her real aspiration was to take the Gospel to the Indians of her land."

The miracle took place in 1994, when an 86-year old woman suffering from cancer of the uterus was cured, allowing her to live a healthy life for nearly ten more years.

Laura Montoya y Upegui was born on May 26, 1874 in Jerico, Colombia. She received her academic formation at the Holy Spirit School of Amalfi and a school in Medellín.

In addition to teaching, which she carried out with care and devotion, Mother Laura was distinguished for her missionary aptitudes, an endeavor she engaged in with intelligence, courage, and enthusiasm.

Inspired always by the missionary ideal, she catechized the Indians of the Uraba and Sarare jungles.

Her first missionary trip was in 1908. She founded the "Works of the Indians" and the Congregation of Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Sienna.

She organized a group of young women in the service of God and of the neediest in 1914, giving life to a congregation that over the years spread to several countries of Latin America, among them, Venezuela.

A defender of the Indians' rights and symbol of a strong woman, Mother Laura died in Medellín on October 21, 1949. She is considered an exemplary figure in Colombia's religious history. The heroic virtues of this Servant of God were recognized in 1991.