VIRGIN (JUNE 27, 2011)
SHE LEFT HER WEALTHY FAMILY AND HER HOMELAND TO MINISTER IN POLAND
Laura was born in Florence on January 5, 1873 to a family of nobles. Her wealthy family moved to Rome when she was still a small child. In Rome, Laura studied medicine, but she also studied about God and prayed much. When her spiritual director, a Salesian, told her that God was calling her to join Don Bosco’s Sisters, she spent whole nights in prayer.
After becoming a Salesian Sister in 1898, she worked mainly in Sicily. In 1921, she was chosen to lead the first group of Sisters sent to Poland. She worked incessantly and, even in the midst of extreme poverty, was capable of opening the Sisters’ houses to everyone in need. She began by taking in orphaned or abandoned children, then the older girls, the schools, sewing classes, postulants, novices, Sisters; then the refugees, the persecuted, the sick, the exiles…
Especially during the events of World War II, this “little mother,” as she was called, lived a life of love and courage. The Sisters and 104 girls had to leave Vilnius, in secret, on a special train, because many had no authorization. Mother Laura said yes to all of this! The provincial was anxious, there might be some shooting. “Don’t be afraid, I’ll pray.” The journey, which lasted 16 days, had a happy ending, but only by a real miracle.
When the war was over, they had to leave those territories that had become part of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic and begin the work all over again. Mother Laura started again: she opened 12 houses. The new novitiate was established in Pogrzebien, in an old castle that had been used by the Germans to exterminate women and children. Mother Laura was able to comfort everyone. At the same time she prayed and suffered. She lived Poland’s long agony and martyrdom in the years 1938 to 1945. To those who asked her, “Are you not homesick for Italy?” she replied, “I have two homelands: Italy and Poland, and I could not tell you which I love more.” Everywhere she went, joy, life and peace returned. But Mother Laura was growing tired.
Assisted by the Sisters, and supported by everyone’s prayers, she died in Poland on August 30, 1951. Her remains lie in Pogrzebien. The process to study the life and virtue of the Servant of God, Sr. Laura Meozzi was celebrated in Poland in the Diocese of Katowice during the years 1986-1994.