Imagine one of the most beautiful girls in Buenos Aires high society—no more than 16 years old—& married off to a much, much older man. It was 1862 after all, & the odd couple was Felicitas Guerrero & Martín de Álzaga. Felicitas had one son from the marriage, but he died at the age of 6… hubby Martín passed away the following year. Nothing very out of the ordinary so far.
Felicitas still had her beauty & had also inherited a huge fortune. No wonder she became the object of every man’s attention in Buenos Aires. One of her suitors turned out to be extremely jealous. When he found out that Felicitas might have feelings for someone else, he went to her estate in the neighborhood of Barracas to demand an explanation. Felicitas obviously wasn’t very convincing because he shot her twice & she died the following day, 30 Jan 1872. Tragic. And today marks the anniversary.
The family fortune passed to the parents of Felicitas, & they built an enormous church in her memory. Over the years, a tradition developed that women come to the Iglesia de Santa Felicitas on January 30th, tie a ribbon to the gate & ask for help finding their true love. It’s a wonderful legend… Felicitas, Martín & their son are all buried in Recoleta Cemetery.
The tomb is fairly simple with 4 statues of women on each corner symbolizing either an aspect of virtue or mortality. A fancy wrought-iron gate is guarded by two lions:
The gorgeous Iglesia de Santa Felicitas faces Plaza Colombia in the neighborhood of Barracas. Afternoon is the best time to visit as the sun sets over the main façade: