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167. bernabé sáenz valiente

Bernabé Sáenz Valiente, Recoleta Cemetery

The most remarkable thing about this mausoleum—apart from its size & beautiful state of disrepair—isn’t easily noticed at first glance. Along the left side behind the iron gate is a single tombstone which fits neatly in the gap:

Bernabé Sáenz Valiente, Recoleta Cemetery

The inscription reads:

Catalina Dogan falleció el 31 de agosto de 1863 a los setenta y cinco años de edad. Fue en su humilde clase de sirvienta un modelo de fidelidad y de honrrades.

Catalina Dogan passed away the 31st of August, 1863 at the age of 75. She was, in her humble class of servant, a model of loyalty & honor.

That’s right. The maid was buried on the same plot as the family she worked for… but of course not inside.

Upper-class families that made their fortune either through agriculture or livestock had large estates to manage & required servants to raise children, maintain mansions & naturally to keep up appearances. Some servants became surrogate family members as in the case of Catalina Dogan. In spite of being exposed to the elements, this family obviously thought the world of her & bestowed a great honor by burying her here.

Update (Mar 2023): According to the former director of the cemetery, the tombstone has been temporarily removed for restoration. No estimate on its return date.

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  1. Bernie Newman Bernie Newman

    I specifically went to look at the gravestone of Catalina Dogan on March 2, 2023 and was shocked to find that it is totally absent. I hope that it was removed to be preserved somewhere because it is truly marking a historic time. I cannot believe that it could have deteriorated so much since the last time I saw it in March, 2020. Does anyone know what has happened to this marker?

    • Thanks for the info, Bernie! I’ve updated the post above. Hopefully restoration won’t take long. Photo below courtesy of Marcelo Metayer:

      Catalina Dogan, missing tombstone

    • Thanks for sharing your photos! I have to agree… the light in the cemetery is fantastic. I’m looking forward to returning soon & will continue to post updates as we find out more about the tombstone.

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