This week seems to be "Strong Women Week". On Sunday I went to see the movie about Edith Piaf and yesterday I won tickets to see the Broadway musical Evita at the Four Rivers Center. Thanks to Mary at the ilistpaducah blog.

For those of you who don't know who she was, she was the wife of the Argentinian President Juan Peron and she did a lot of good things for the poor and children. She was viewed by Argentinians as a Saint but there was other people that hated her too.

I think even more interesting that her life was her death. Here is some info about her death I found on this site:

Maria Eva Duarte de Peron died on July 26, 1552 of uterine cancer at the age of thirty three.

During Eva's last weeks, she was writing her will. Two versions of her will were written, the first became public immediately after her death, and the second was given to a journalist by Juan Peron on his deathbed in 1975. Both wills began with the statement "I want to live forever with Peron and my people. That is my absolute and unchangeable will, and it is also my last wish". The will continues with the instructions that all her possessions were to be used "in case of disasters affecting the poor, and I want these to be seen as another proof of my love for them."

Moments after she died, the radios made the announcement which put the whole country into shock. Uninstructed, the country immediately went into a state of mourning. All businesses closed, restaurants told their customers to leave, and people began wandering the streets. The late night edition of the newspaper gave the people the first indication of the severity of Eva's illness. It was announced that her body would be displayed at the ministry of labor building for three days. The line to file past her coffin was said to wind around thirty blocks in Buenos Aires. The day after Eva's death, every florist store in the country was said to be sold out to people planning to place flowers on the coffin, and the rush was so bad that eight people died, and hundreds were injured just to see the body.

Eva had often told Juan of her worst fear, which was to be forgotten. To make sure she never was, Juan hired Dr. Pedro Ara, a Spanish pathologist to embalm her body. Dr. Ara spent two years perfecting the body, including preserving Eva's brain and other internal organs which are normally removed. Peron planned to build a mausoleum three times the size of the statue of liberty to place the body in, where it could be left on display forever. Unfortunately for Peron, the Argentineans revolted against him before the mausoleum could be built, and he was forced to flee to Spain. The new government knew that any place in Argentina where Eva's body was laid to rest would be used to support the Peronist government. Because of this, they had the body shipped to Italy, and buried in a small cemetery in Milan under a false name. It was only after Peron was back in Argentina twenty years later that Eva's body was returned to him. The men who dug up the body in Italy were amazed, and believed the almost perfectly intact body to be a miracle. Peron seemed pleased to see Eva's body again, and kept it with him. It was only after his death that his new wife had Eva's body buried in the Duarte family tomb in a cemetery in Buenos Aires.

Thousands of people rallied the Vatican after Eva's death, with the hopes of her being made an official Catholic martyr, but the Vatican refused on the grounds of her marriage to Peron, and her preceding lifestyle. Despite the veto, masses are still held in her honor today.

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