After her father’s sudden death, Laura’s family left Chile for Argentina, where her mother became the mistress of a wealthy landowner. He initially paid the fees for Laura and her sister to attend a school run by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. However, he stopped when Laura rebuffed his sexual advances, and she and her sister worked to pay the fees themselves. She had tried to join the order in 1902 but was rejected because of her mother’s lifestyle. Her death, shortly before her 13th birthday, was caused by stress and a severe beating by the mother’s lover.