Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, IL. Photography by A. Louise Myers. www.marbleorchard.com
Julia Buccola Petta
The Italian Bride
Mount Carmel Cemetery
Sadly, at 29 years of age Julia died in childbirth and she was buried with her baby. The story goes that shortly after her burial, her mother, Filomena, began having dreams in which she envisioned her daughter to have been buried alive. She tried for over six years to have her daughter's body exhumed. Finally, she won her fight and had the grave opened. In the casket they found that, although the infant had decomposed, Julia's body had not decayed at all. A photo was taken of her remains and a plate was added to the stone. The "incorruptible" state in which she lay is often associated with saints, but is in fact a phenomena called adipocere, sometimes known as grave wax.
This plate(left) was added after Julia's coffin had been exhumed. It is a photograph of her body over six years after she was buried.
The adipocere, which is a waxy substance caused by a combination of a body's adiopose (fat) with certain bacteria. This sometimes forms on a corpse hindering decay. Only on the very rarest of occasions does it preserve the body this degree.
The oval plate (right) is afixed to the front of her memorial stone. It is Julia in her wedding gown.