Family santos are highly regarded as heirlooms, precious enough to be kept and passed on from generation to generation. This is the story of one such treasured image, that became the object of a dispute, resulting in its loss. But the story has a happy ending, despite the fact that the original image was never regained. Here, Jayson Maceo, writes the story of a family image that once was the center of their Marian devotion in their picturesque town of Lucban, Quezon.
The story of our family image begins with this old prayer booklet entitled “Novena nang Casantosantosang Virgen de los Remedios'. This novena was originally owned by my great-grandmother's cousin, Remedios (Lola Medoy) Deveza, the only child to survive from the marriage of Julio and Procesa Deveza. Her three older brothers all died in infancy, and so her parents offered a novena to the Virgin of Malate—Nstra. Snra. De los Remedios—in the hope that their next child would come to this world alive. Their prayers were answered with the birth of a baby girl on 6 November 1905(?), whom they would name Remedios.
In gratitude, an ivory image of the Remedios Virgin was commissioned by her mother Procesa after her birth. Remedios took possession of the image when she came of age. She remained a soltera throughout her life and died Nov. 12, 1995. But before she passed away, she decided to give the image of Our Lady to my great grandmother's sister Patricia (Lola Taring). She bequeathed this, together with the image of Sta. Juliana of Liege and the original novena of the Virgen de los Remedios.
After her death, however, a series of disputes happened, and in the process, we lost possession of the Virgen de los Remedios. What remained with us were only Sta. Juliana and the tattered novena of the Virgin. I was just ten years old at that time. We were all saddened by the loss of the Virgin, most especially Lola Taring.
Besides, Lola Taring was too old then to commission a new image. She would soon die on 25 October 2008. But before she moved on, she handed down to me the novena and her hope that someday, our family would have a Virgen de los Remedios of our own. Her prayers were answered just a few days before her second death anniversary with this new ivory image of Nstra. Sñra de los Remedios, commissioned from the expert santo restorer and maker, Dr. Rafael Lopez.
The new ivory image of Our Lady of Remedies was a product of a series of creative consultations with Dr. Lopez, who provided me much guidance as to the eventual look of the Virgin.
Initially, I had wanted to have the ivory head carved from an old ivory ball given to the family, but I was drawn to a beautiful ivory head and hands that Dr. Lopez had in stock. We ended up trading ivory parts and thus, this head and pair of hands became the basis for our new image.
While the body was being constructed, the delicate encarna work on the ivory face was begun by the master artist and painter, Rafael del Casal.
He presented several options for the peaña, reconstituted from two bases. Two cherubs were added as a finishing touch.
The Virgin's tunic was executed in pink satin, with a cape in blue green shade. The embroidery was based on an old design, while the metalworks were of my own preference.
As a final touch, a sliver of wood from the original Virgen de los Remedios of Malate was given to me by a friend which we encased in the gold and coral tambourine necklace of our Virgin.
On 13 October 2010, we finally reclaimed our very own Virgen de los Remedios with the completion of the 26 inch tall ivory treasure. In her hands, she holds the rosary given to me by Lola Taring, a few years before her death.
She had her homecoming in Lucban that same month--on 24 October--just a day before the 2nd death anniversary of Lola Taring. A traditional 'padasal' was held to mark her day of passing and honor her memory.
The next month, during her feast on November 21, another special 'padasal' was held, a fitting and perfect tribute to Our Lady--our Virgen delos Remedios-- that once was lost, but now found again.