San Buenaventura

Do you know that Ventura's real official name is actually San Buenaventura? That is the original and official name for Ventura, still on record.

One version for the shortening of the city's name came about for the convenience of the U.S. Post Office, which complained that too much mail was being confused with that of San Bernardino's. Other versions include mapmakers, and train conductors, who wanted to shorten the name. Therefore, in 1891, to ease the confusion, the shorter name of Ventura was adopted.

San Buenaventura was the name chosen for the Spanish Mission established here in 1782, and the town which grew up around the mission quite naturally came to be known by the same name. But how the mission got its name is another story; one which involved another name change.

The founder of the first nine California missions, Father Junipero Serra, was directed to name one of the missions in honor of Saint Bonaventure (San Buenaventura, in Spanish). Bonaventure was a Franciscan padre who became both a cardinal and a saint. He was born John Fidanza, in Italy, in the year 1221. His name was changed as a result of St. Francis having exclaimed, "O, Bona Venture!" ("Oh, Good Fortune!"), when the young Fidanza was cured in the saint's presence.

John Fidanza was known thereafter as John Bonaventure; and as a result of his experience, he later joined the Franciscans. In time, he became known as "the great light and ornament of the holy order of St. Francis." His devotion and scholarly achievements earned him the title of "Seraphic Doctor," and it was Saint Bonaventure's reorganization and solidification of the Rule of St. Francis which led to his recognition as "the second founder of the Franciscans."

So, call it Ventura, if you like; but don't forget its beautiful, official name... or the historical significance of its origins.