Declared Venerable: 27-06-2011
Laura was born in Florence on January 5, 1873 to Alessandro and Angela Mazzoni. Her wealthy, noble family moved to Rome soon after. Here Laura finished her studies and went on to study medicine. Her spiritual director was a Salesian who invited her to leave wealth behind and respond to the Lord's call by working for poor girls.
After many nights spent in prayer, Laura became a Salesian Sister in 1898. She spent 23 years working in Italy, especially in Sicily until 1921, when she was chosen to lead the first group of Sisters sent to Poland. It was during this latter period that Sr Laura's characteristic stood out: her motherliness.
She had a kindness which came from her Salesian loving-kindness and from the simplicity of Mornese. The Polish children had a nickname for her: mateczka, mum.
In 1922 Sr Laura went on a journey with five other Sisters to Rozanystok, to found a House for war orphans. They put the place in order and it took in 80 children - very poor and disorderly. They turned the place into one big happy family. One of the unfortunate little ones said: "I had a serious intestinal disorder and Mother Laura - everyone called her mateczka - looked after me as if I was her own duaghter. She was like a mother to everyone but took special care for those who were the poorest or even retarded".
The local inspector from the government was so impressed he indicated he would send them a further two hundred orphans. The Government and well-to-do families offered what was needed and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians increased in numbers, blessed by the Lord. They opened a novitiate and new orphanages.
From 1922-1940 Sr Laura, first of all local superior, then provincial, opened 9 works and formed 110 new Sisters. During the Second World War the Consulate invited her to go back to Italy but she stayed in Poland, living at an orphanage in the forests at Sakiszki, dressed as a peasant woman. She led her Sisters through those years via secret letters written in the style of Mother Mazzarello.
At the end of the war, when the new borders of Poland were defined, the Sisters and 104 children had to leave Vilnius by special train, to go to the 'new' Poland. There were partisans and unauthorised children hidden on board, with their families. Sr Laura ran the risk of being shot. She prayed incessantly and obtained the grace of safety from the Mother of God.
Mother Laura started out again and opened another 12 Houses. She got the novitiate going again, gave everything a new sense of energy, joy. People got their smiles back again.
But she now felt exhausted. With her Sisters around her and accompanied by everyone praying for her, she died on 30 August 1951 at Pogrzebień.