Amelia Goyri, best known as “La Milagrosa” (The Miracle Worker), died at age 23 on May 3, 1903 after giving birth to a son. The baby did not survive and they were buried together, the infant at her feet. The inconsolable widower, José Vicente Adot y Rabell, would visit the grave daily for many years. He never accepted Amelia’s death, he believed she was sleeping and would “awaken” her with three knocks as a secret signal.
When the time came to exhume the remains, they found both bodies incorrupt and as a signal of maternal love, Amelia holding the baby in her arms. The tomb was once again sealed and it remains untouched to this day.
In 1914 Cuban sculptor José Vilalta Saavedra, inspired by the legend of La Milagrosa, carved a statue representing a young woman looking up as an act of faith, her left arm embracing a newborn and the right hand leaning on a cross as a sign of sacrifice. This statue towers over Amelia’s tomb at Cementerio de Colon in Havana, Cuba.
As the legend spread, Amelia’s resting place became the place to go to pray for the protection of children, safe childbirth and even to aid couples unable to conceive. This practice continues to this day. Visitors leave their petitions and notes of thanksgiving by her grave.
In 1902 Rufina Cambaceres was mistakenly pronounced dead and sadly laid to rest at La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Unfortunately when Rufina woke up she found herself buried in her coffin and desperately tried to break free. She suffocated and was scratched and mauled beyond recognition by the time they realized she had been buried alive. Her grieving father rebuilt the grave site to portray her opening the doors to her own tomb. She is now said to wander the cemetery at night, unearthing dead bodies to make sure they have not suffered the same fate.