Fray Ezequiel Moreno de la Virgen del Rosario

St. Ezekiel Moreno received from his childhood on the part of his father the affection for the prayer of the Holy Rosary, to such an extent that he included it in his name of religious profession.

Saint Ezekiel Moreno was born in 1848 in Alfaro (La Rioja), son of Felix Moreno and Josefa Díaz. His family was, as the Augustinian Recollect Angel Martinez Cuesta says in his biography, “of humble extraction and of keen religiosity”. Specifically his father, a tailor by profession, who maintained an enormous devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He was the one who instilled in Ezequiel the love for Mary from his cradle. The Mother of God was always present in the heart of the holy Augustinian Recollect.

Ezequiel, the third of his six children, attended the public school, was part of the town’s music chapel and served the Dominican nuns as altar boy and sacristan. It was with the Dominicans and through his father that he began his particular devotion to the Virgin of the Rosary, whose feast day is celebrated on October 7. His attachment to the congregation founded by Domingo de Guzmán was very close and he remembered them with tenderness at all times.

Felix Moreno attended every morning the so-called Rosary of Dawn with his two sons, Eustaquio and Ezequiel. The little boy began his devotion to the Virgin, specifically through the Holy Rosary, as indicated by the Augustinian Recollect Manuel Carceller. The same Ezekiel will remember it when, on his return from the Philippines, in 1885, he preached in his native town, Alfaro, in the month of October in the church of the Dominican nuns, of which he had been successively altar boy and sacristan: “To this temple”, he would say, shedding tears, “my deceased father would bring me by the hand and here we would pray and sing the Holy Rosary, when I could hardly babble the words”.

Ezequiel Moreno would leave his hometown, Alfaro, to make his novitiate, where his brother Eustaquio was already. However, he would not abandon the devotion to the Virgin, which accompanied him all his life. On September 21, 1864 he took the religious habit and the following year he pronounced his vows, adopting then the name of Fray Ezequiel Moreno de la Virgen del Rosario.

As Bishop of Pasto, the Virgin of the Rosary was still present in his life. A Jesuit father remembers: “What didn’t he do to extend the devotion of the Holy Rosary, already encouraging the practice of the Rosary of the Dawn, which in his time began in the church of Santo Domingo? In his diocese he even distributed free rosaries to inculcate devotion to the Rosary.

The same pontifical decree approving the heroic nature of his virtues echoes this, leaving the record that from his early childhood he greeted the Blessed Virgin Mary every day with the prayer of the Rosary. In his beatification, together with four other servants of God, Paul VI recalled his devotion to the Virgin: “Mary, as Mother of God and of the Church, collaborates with maternal love in the birth and formation of the faithful; for this reason she is present in a special way in the secret history of the saints”.