La Milagrosa

5 02 2009

milagrosa

After some poking around the Internet, I found the story of this Cuban folk saint here, and most of the details of the story are from that source. Also, there is a good NPR story on this that you can listen to by following this link.

The story is rather touching as folk saint stories go. At the beginning of the 20th century, two Cuban aristocrats, José Vicente Adott and Amelia Goiry de la Hoz fell in love and got married. She became pregnant with her first child, but after eight months of pregnancy she fell deftly ill and died, and the child she was carrying was thus a stillborn. According to Spanish custom at the time, the infant was buried between her legs. The husband, distraught with grief, all but lost his senses, and devoted himself to the care of his wife’s tomb. He came twice a day dressed in black, circled the tomb, and knocked three times on it, saying, “wake up, Amelia”. He would then speak to her, and when he was finished, he would walk away backwards, being sure never to turn his back since, “you should never turn your back on a lady, and much less my beloved Amelia”.

Years afterwards, the family decided to bury another relative in the same tomb and move the bones to an ossuary. The still distraught husband wanted to see Amelia for the last time, and made himself present for the transferal. When they opened the tomb, they were shocked to find that the body of mother and child were incorrupt, and the child had moved from between the legs into the arms of the mother. They left her alone, and since then, she has been known as la Milagrosa or the Miraculous Woman. Cubans still come to her tomb and ask for favors, following the ritual of the mourning husband, and many ex-votos are left at her grave giving testimony to her powerful intercession.

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