|SAINT OF GOOD FORTUNE. San Buenaventura|
These photos were sent to me by a santo aficionado who chanced upon a group of devotees preparing this antique ivory santo for procession in a church and in a place that he could not even recall. He hastily snapped these pictures then only remembered being told that the santo’s name was San Buenaventura, a saint that is rarely heard of or even seen in the Philippines. It turned out that the place was in Mauban, Quezon, with San Buenaventura as the town's patron saint.
San Buenaventura (St. Bonaventure), born in Tuscany in 1221, was a Franciscan cardinal, theologian and Doctor of the Church. He got his name when, as a sickly boy, he was cured of his illness through the prayers of St. Francis of Assisi, who exclaimed “O Buona Ventura!” (Oh, good fortune!) upon seeing him recover.
Inspired by St. Francis, he became a Franciscan at age 22 and taught theology. He became a Minister General of the order in 1257 and in the course of his life, he was known for his spiritual writings that earned him the name “the Seraphic Doctor”. He received the degree of Doctor, together with his friend St. Thomas Aquinas, in Paris.
Named as Cardinal by Pope Gregory X one year before his death, he was also appointed as Bishop of Albano. He died while he was assisting at the Second Council of Lyons, on 15 July 1274.
St. Bonaventure is often depicted in statues and drawings wearing a Cardinal's hat and the bishop's crosier (shepherd's staff), a miter, and sometimes a crucifix. In some, he wears a mezclado—his cardinal’s red pellegrina worn over his Franciscan habit. His other attributes include the Church, in reference to his being a Doctor, and a quill—for his writings. His feast day is July 15th.
The image is currently enshrined at the Parish of San Buenaventura in Mauban, Quezon. A similar church dedicated to San Buenaventura is located in Balangkayan, Eastern Samar. If any of you, dear readers, know more information about this particular San Buenaventura, please send me a message through this blog.
PICTURES COURTESY OF MR. BONIE MERCADO.