Sister Laura Magallanes, M.M. Maryknoll Sister for 75 Years, Dies

Maryknoll, NY: Sister Laura Magallanes died on Thursday, April 13, 2023 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. She was 95 years old and a Maryknoll Sister for 75 years.

On July 22, 1927, Laura Magallanes was born in Los Angeles, CA, to Teresa (Guerra) Magallanes and Jose Magallanes.  She had six brothers, Frank, Gabriel, Joseph, Michael, Nick and Ralph and six sisters, Angela, Marie, Katherine, Sr. Adela, Rosemary and Teresa. All have predeceased her.  Her nieces and nephews survive her.

Laura attended Sacred Heart Academy High School in Los Angeles, CA from 1943 to 1946.

She entered the Maryknoll Sisters at Valley Park, MO on October 14, 1948 from St. Mary’s Parish in Los Angeles, CA.    She pronounced her First Profession of Vows on May 8, 1951 in Valley Park, MO.

In 1951, she received her first mission assignment to Chile and was assigned to Galvarino where she taught 2nd and 3rd grade until the end of the school year. Sister Laura and Sister Henrietta Coppard, M.M. went to Chillan in 1952.  They started a mission working with the poor and a parish school for the children of families living in extreme urban poverty. Sr. Laura was the assistant principal and also taught primary school.  She made her Final Vows on May 8, 1954 in Chile.

Sr. Laura moved around Chile in the years 1958 to 1970. Sister taught 3rd and 4th grade at the San Juan de Dios Parish School in Santiago in 1958; she taught 1st and 2nd grade in the Parish School in Curepto in 1959-1960; she was Administrator of the Language Study House in Pucon and taught religion and English in Manuel Guinez Boy’s Campo School in 1961-1964; she was assistant principal and primary school  teacher in Talca in 1965-1967; she was principal of Santo Tomas Boys School in Temuco in 1968 and in 1969, she was a primary school teacher in Talcahuano until 1970.  In all the years of teaching in schools, she loved visiting the homes of her students to understand them better, some of them living in city dumps.

She went back to the USA in 1970-71 for studies. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Mary Rogers College at Maryknoll, NY in 1971.

Sister Laura returned to Chile in 1972. She lived and worked among those living in extreme poverty. She did mostly pastoral work, also organized soup kitchen, trained catechists, visited homes, hospitals and prisons. She was in Talcahuano in 1972, in Talca in 1973-1989 and in Melipilla in 1990-1994. Sister Laura was in Chile for 43 years and loved it.

Sister Laura transferred to the Western US Region in 1994 and lived in San Diego, CA until 2009.  She ministered to the elderly in hospitals, visited elderly who were shut-ins, volunteered at nearby senior citizen centers, helped minorities and was a neighbor to the neighbors.  Once a month she participated in sharing life and faith experiences in a support group for women.

In 2009, Sister returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY where she remained until her death on April 13, 2023.

Funeral Services:

A Vespers Service will be held for Sister Laura on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, April 21, 2023 at 10:00 A.M. at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.