Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It's almost all but forgotten now, but San Isidro (whose feast is today) was once a "big shot" in Saipan.

We must remember that the Spanish priests had the custom of sometimes naming one patron saint for the town or village, and another for the church building itself.

The most prominent, but now forgotten, example is Hagåtña, the capital of the Marianas at one time.  The patron of the city is San Ignacio.  The patroness of the church is Dulce Nombre de Maria.

In Malesso', San Dimas for the village; Our Lady of the Rosary for the church.

In Inalåhan, San Jose for the village; Our Lady of Consolation for the church.  All but forgotten.

This custom did not occur in every case.  In Humåtak, San Dionisio is patron of both village and church.

In Saipan, the patron of the town of Garapan was, at one time, San Isidro.  Notice the parish seal above.  The parish was coterminous with the town.  It says, "Parroquia de S. Isidro de Garapan."  Or, "Parish of San Isidro of Garapan."

The seal, probably made in Manila, features a little image of the saint, with his plow and a stalk of some kind of crop behind.

At some point, Our Lady of Mount Carmel was made patroness of the church in Garapan and then in the 1920s this was changed to Kristo Rai (Christ the King).

But the devotion to San Isidro lived on, mainly because he is patron of farmers so he would be popular among Chamorros, anyway, for that reason alone, at least in the good old days of farming.

Today, San Isidro is remembered each year in Saipan as the patron of farmers, especially by the Carolinian community.

Saipan singer Candy Taman at the San Isidro fiesta

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