San Mateo, Rizal has perhaps, one of the most organized Lenten processions in the region, with a little over 20 santos participating, a mix of the old and new. The oldest image is believed to be that of the STA. VERONICA, the woman who wiped Jesus’s face with a towel that cause His likeness to be imprinted on the cloth.
The processional image was originally owned by couple Victoriano (Maestro Bito) and Andrea Santos. The image, which had been carved in Pangil, Laguna in the 1800s, and which had participated in the early processions there, was brought to San Mateo in the 1930s, as Bito’s wife hailed from there. Their STA. VERONICA has since been a regular participant in the annual Lenten rituals in the historic town.
When the Santos couple passed away, the image of STA. VERONICA was left in the care of their daughter, Mrs. Rosita Santos-Manahan. When, in her old age, she found it difficult to tend to the image, she passed it on to her only child, Tessa Jasminez-Manahan, who, with her family, has been caring for the antique image ever since.
The processional image shows the santa with a roundish, almost glum face. The sudarium that she holds unfolded with both hands, and which bears the painted impressions of the 3 Holy Faces, has been periodically changed.
All other original accessories, are still intact and complete, from her jewel-encrusted corona and paragua, brass appliques, right down to her beautiful, silver paneled carroza. Preparing her has become both a family and a community affair, a responsibility that daughter Tessa has come to love and embrace.
Tessa Jazmines FP Page
Debosyon at Kasaysayan: Ang Mahal na Araw sa Bayan ng San Mateo, Parokya ng Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu. Souvenir program, 2001.