In a sprawling cemetery in Havana, Cuba, a female figure keeps watch over a grave. She is carved from white Carrara marble. Her right arm is wrapped around a cross, a symbol of sacrifice. Her left arm holds a baby.
The grave belongs to Amelia Goyri and the date of her death is 1903 at the age of 23. Amelia’s story is tragic. While pregnant she acquired pre-eclampsia, causing high blood pressure and other health problems, and following seizures, she and her baby son died. Her grieving husband visited the grave daily and each day he engaged in the ritual of knocking three times. The story told is that when the grave was opened to re-inter Amelia’s and the baby’s bones, as is the custom, what they found was an intact body. A miracle, hence the name “La Milagrosa.”
The rest of the story varies. Some say Amelia was found holding her baby in her arms. One guide through the cemetery said that the baby was found resting at her feet and was later returned to her arms when she was reburied.
Regardless of the truth of the story, Amelia Goyri’s grave has become a revered monument in the cemetery, a place where fresh flowers are always found and where people come to seek miracles of their own.
Touch the foot of the baby. Tap the marble slab three times. Consider your wish. Many say those wishes come true. They believe that from a tragic death comes something beautiful to those with faith who show reverence to this symbol of tragedy.