The Brides of Mount Carmel Cemetery

Back in March of this year, I decided to take a road trip up to Milwaukee Wisconsin to see friends.  I wanted to stop by a few of Chicago’s Historical Cemeteries, so I did some online research for them.  Low and behold I found a site that I am in love with now,

This cemetery just blew me away.  I always explore from the outside in when I go to a cemetery.  So as I entered I drove to the right, parked, and got out with my trusty camera in hand. Every tombstone had a picture on it,  I could have spent all day just photographing them. Unfortunately I was on a dead line.  So I moved on to find the tombstones I really wanted to find.  Two hours later I was still walking around taking photo’s.

Below are just some of the “Brides” that I found.

Julia Buccola Petta (1892-1921) was a housewife who became known following her death as The Italian Bride. She was the daughter of Filomena Buccola. She died at the age of 29 in 1921 while giving birth.

Following her death, Petta was buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in the Chicago, Illinois suburb of Hillside. Petta was buried in her wedding dress. A photo of Petta in her wedding dress was placed on her monument, which also features a statue of her based on this photo. Soon after Petta’s death, her mother began experiencing dreams in which Petta was telling her that she was still alive.

Six years after Petta’s death, Filomena secured permission to have the grave opened and her daughter exhumed. The coffin was found to have decomposed, but when it was opened Petta’s body was still intact – her body had not decayed at all. Her mother took a picture of Petta in her casket, which was placed on the monument and is still there to this day. Why Petta’s body had not decayed following burial has never been explained. Some have attributed Petta’s condition upon being exhumed to her being incorruptible, while others have attributed the condition of her body to the type of soil found in the cemetery. In 1921 embalming chemicals had already been around for decades, so with a proper embalming and the body placed in an air-sealed coffin the corpse’s organs will break down at a very slow pace. Observations of non-decayed bodies that have been deceased for years, even decades, is not uncommon. The exhumations of Abraham Lincoln, Solanus Casey and Eva Perón are a few of many famous examples of this.

Today Petta is among the more well known people buried at Mount Carmel, along with prior Bishops and Archbishops of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and organized crime figures such as Al Capone.

The Italian Bride The Italian Bride      The Italian Bride 6 years after her death

Giuseppina Figlio April 30 1896 Oct 11 1920

Antonetta Mazzitelli Sept 26, 1910 April 23 or 27 1919

Antonia Gennaro March 1 1893 April 15 1917

Rosalia Serpatore 1889-1908

Carmela Rodio Oct 4 1890 Oct 5 1919

This is just part of the Brides that are found here at Mount Carmel Cemetery

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