2006. As a devotee of Our Lady of La Naval de Manila, I have always dreamt of owning a replica. After graduation I have saved enough money to commission one image and my immediate decision was to have an image of the Blessed Mother...however I did have my reservations; since if I have an image carved then that means I loose all my savings--I was having a difficult time deciding...one day I'm ok the next day "no deal..." until I had a dream wherein a priest was scolding me for wanting to have an image so badly...then the priest left enabling me to see a door behind him...I opened the door...lo and behold I saw the image of Our Lady of La Naval...I approached her and I saw her smile. From that point on I know what to do.
My second dilemma...What marian image? Before I was only active in our chapel. Our chapel's patron is Our Lady of Fatima. Hoping to improve our community's fiesta...I decided to have an image of Our Lady of Fatima instead...but I guess a part of me still clings to having an image of La Naval...and I insisted on having a bastidor body and a cloud base fit for a Del Rosario. The plan was to have my image join the procession instead of the detallado Fatima image of the chapel. But that did not push through since some groups would want the detallado image to be processed as the patron of our community...in the end there were two Fatima images, I had to change my title to "Apparition of Our Lady" with the three children of Fatima. During the procession I heard lots of comments that she does not look like a Fatima image...she resembles another image (I know the answer but I was not telling...).
First procession. October 2006
Fast forward to 2009. I am no longer sure what triggered me to decide to have an image of Our Lady of La Naval but I did. It was Black Saturday 2009, I asked my Dad to drive me to Pampanga, to Nick Lugue's workshop...brought my Fatima Image for the "make-over" and earnestly prayed that I have in 1 month's time an image worthy of the title Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval.
A collage of pictures taken when the image arrived after the "make-over"
Coincidence or not...in 2009 I was appointed as the Worship Coordinator of our Chapel and now have access to the Parish's activities. I am part of the Worship Committee, the group basically in charge of the Parish's devotional activities. I joined the group in August. Come September we had a formation activity for all the new parish workers, that's where I thought of why not have Our Lady of La Naval be part of the Parish's annual October devotion... I approached the Committee head and offerred to have my image used for the novena and possibly a procession...but the plan is, I only lend them the image for the duration of the novena and on October 7th after the procession, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, the image comes home. The parish priest requested to have the image stay for a month however since I stated that I can only lend it until October 7th, and since I am going to use it for the Marikina Holy Rosary procession...they agreed and will just borrow a detallado image from a closeby seminary. Reason behind is 1) the image has too much sentimental value for me I cannot part with it even for a day and 2) I was planning of including the La Naval image in the carroza of Beata Imelda Lambertini (another image which joins the Marikina Holy Rosary procession).
And Ondoy came...I, like many of us here (even though you are not affected by the flood) realized so many things because of that catastrophic event. I for one started to question my attachment to my La Naval. A flood can come and take all your possessions away...why should I keep my image locked up in our altar if I can help further strengthen devotion if I lend the image to the parish for just a month...why include the image of Our Lady in the carroza of Beata Imelda? Knowing that they have their own Del Rosario image (people may take my intentions differently)...I took it as a message that Our Lady wanted to stay in the Parish. With a heavy heart I obliged, like I said it's hard for me to part with the image but I know it was the right thing to do.
Her first procession as Our Lady of La Naval during the Flores de Mayo