Part 6: “Behold thy Mother”

[John 19:27]

Poster in Quito announcing a novena to La Dolorosa and Fr Moscoso-the Ecuadoreans have realized the rejuvenation of the Catholic Faith through the oblation of Fr. Emilio Moscoso and the Miracle of La Dolorosa by make this novena April 26th – May 5th (day after the anniversary of Fr Moscoso’s martyrdom).

In order to understand the martyrdom of Fr. Moscoso more fully, the facts surrounding the events of the supernatural manifestation of Our Lady under the title of La Dolorosa, in Quito need to be examined.  Thus, a brief historical account needs to be given.  Since they are tied together with a string of events tied together by the Liberal Revolution and Masonry, it should not be too difficult.  The main events of the Revolution are highlighted below that one can get the picture of just how persecuted Ecuador was in the span of just a little over thirty years after the death of Garcia Moreno.

  • In short, after the death of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, the enemies of the Catholic Church and the Republic of Ecuador which this truly Catholic president had organized into a Catholic Nation and consecrated to the Sacred Heart wasted no time with their plans to undermine all of what he had achieved.
  • Then came the general Liberal Revolution, in 1895, which we have written about that took place against the Catholic Church within Ecuador – hitting hard the main cities of Quito, and Riobamba. The head of this liberal revolution of the uneducated masses of Ecuador, General Eloy Alfaro and his group proclaimed themselves rulers of Ecuador and proceeded to take over Catholic schools etc. Attacks were made on the Archbishop’s palace and the Jesuits as a whole. Although Alfaro promised Pope Leo XIII to maintain harmony with the Vatican, the following year, he broke the Concordat. He expelled the Jesuits from the Amazon region, where they had founded 152 villages. He forbade the establishment of any new religious congregations in the country.
  • In 1896, an expulsion of the Jesuits from Ecuador was attempted, but failed without the necessary votes and the Separation of Church and State is decreed with suppression of religious orders and monasteries.
  • As mentioned, in 1897, in Riobamba, an assault by the Liberal troops took place at the Jesuit school of Philip Neri Seminary, with the desecration of the Church and the Tabernacle, the murder of the Rector, Fr. Emilio Moscoso, the imprisonment of all the Jesuits , and the pillage and destruction of the College.
  • On January 24, 1899, the Vice-President indicated that the Jesuits should leave the country, to the north, before 10 o'clock that night. Because of the huge turnout of protestors on the subject of the Jesuit exile, the government withdrew the order, and even asked the Jesuit Fathers to go out on the streets to pacify the population.
  • In 1900, the persecution worsened however with religious education becoming abolished in the Fiscal Colleges; the freedom of education was restricted; Catholic school exams and the conferring of academic degrees were not allowed; all tax subsidies are denied to private schools. The Congress revoked the decree of the National Consecration to the Sacred Heart.
  • In 1901, the government seized part of Saint Gabriel’s College from the Jesuits.
  • In 1904: A law prohibiting the entry into the country of new Religious Orders was enacted. The novitiates of the Contemplative Orders were suppressed. Only Ecuadorians by birth exercised ecclesiastical positions. The situation became graver still as the Constitutional Law was modified, suppressing the Catholic Religion as official, in the Nation.
  • In 1906, the year of the miracle of La Dolorosa, the revolutionary movement was in full swing imposing more and more laws against the Church. It deposed President Lizardo García and raised again, as Supreme Chief, Eloy Alfaro.  The National Assembly proclaimed secularism, which was just another name for anti-clericalism. The Church was stripped of its legal status.  A riot was promoted against the Christian Brothers Schools; confirmation of the expulsion of the Salesians and the Capuchins. A revolutionary group invaded the archbishop's palace and mistreated the elderly, Bishop Gonzales Calisto. The government decreed sanctions against those who preach pointing out the failures of the public power and the secular Constitution.

With these events, a complete and final takeover was imminent. However, a miracle happened on April 20, 1906. It was Easter Friday and thus, most of the boys were off for Easter break at St. Gabriel's Academy, run by the Jesuit Fathers in Quito, Ecuador. So, St. Gabriel’s was chosen as “the messenger”, per se, for the events that were to take place. It was on this date at around 8 p.m. in the evening, in the presence of 36 boys ages 10-17 and 2 religious, a painting of Our Sorrowful Mother- known as La Dolorosa became animated and began to open and close her eyes.  She had a sad expression that seemed to grow pale and a look that made her appear as if she was about to cry.

 It was this French oleograph bought from a street merchant depicting Our Lady with seven swords in her heart - representing her seven sorrows. She is shown holding the nails and crown of thorns of Her Son’s Passion. It hung on the wall of that boys’ school cafeteria.

 As in many of Our Lady’s numerous earthly manifestations, she chooses to reveal herself to the pure and innocent souls of children, so it was that she once again chose three of the youngest of the thirty-six boys attending St. Gabriel’s to first notice Her presence there amongst them. These 3 boys had recently received their 1st Holy Communion that past Thursday which happened to be Holy Thursday. And so, these boys glanced at this image and noticed that the eyelids of the Blessed and Most Sorrowful Mother began to open and close. One of them immediately began to recite the Our Father and Hail Mary in front of the image. The other two went to call their friends to see this wonder. In the end, all thirty-six boys together with Father Andrew Roesch, witnessed the miracle of this famous picture.

The same miracle of becoming animated [at times with even more changes of expression and skin color] occurred several times after this, once more in favor of the boys at the school, but this time in the chapel, to which the picture had been taken. Subsequently, the canonical ecclesiastical authorities, and the Vicar General ordered the picture to be transferred in procession from the College to the Church of the Jesuit Fathers. At the church, the prodigy was repeated several times before the crowds gathered there. Again, and again the wonder repeated itself. At one time for three consecutive days.

News spread of this prodigy, an order came from the supreme ecclesiastical authority of that time, Monsignor Ulpiano López Quiñonez, Vicar Capitular ordered:

"That this image be covered, and nothing be published by the press or in the pulpit, relative to that event, until its value and authenticity has been decided on."

This, then, was the beginning of the canonical process to ascertain whether or not this event was of supernatural origin. 

All of the students and those present who witnessed this event were ordered to write what they had seen.  A group of experts were asked to come in and study this image and it was concluded that the event could not have occurred due to the effect of light or the conditions in which the painting was located. A group of doctors also analyzed each of the witnesses and concluded that the aforementioned fact was not the result of a sensory illusion.


After all these inquiries and trials, the ecclesiastical authority issued its opinion on May 31, 1906, which in its essential part said:

  1. The fact, verified in the College of the Jesuits, is proven to be materially true.
    2. Due to the circumstances in which it occurred; it cannot be explained by natural causes.
    3. Because of the antecedents and the consequences, it cannot be attributed to diabolical influence.

Consequently, one can believe it with purely human faith. And for that reason, the devotional cult is allowed by the Church and one can spread this devotion with special confidence.

Many, many conversions took place. These occurrences happened at a time when the Church was being terribly persecuted by Freemasonry that was advocating a hostile secularism from Catholic education and they focused on the Jesuits. Catholic Ecuadoreans saw in the Miracle of Dolorosa, Our Lady’s concern for the future of Ecuadorian children and youth that awakened in them, throughout the country, a strong momentum of religiosity.

At Riobamba, the same wonder was witnessed before a reproduction of the picture by more than twenty persons, among whom was the president of the municipality.  This image was venerated in a procession and became animated as in Quito.  The Rector, Fr. Andres Machado, owned one of the three copies that were there in Ecuador

On February 16, 1908, the Jesuit Rector of St Philip Neri, Fr. Rector Andrés Machado, friend and successor to Fr. Moscoso, gave his copy of La Dolorosa, to St. Philip Neri School where it is now kept and venerated above the Tabernacle in the Chapel of Expiation to this day.

[Ed. Note: I had read about this prodigy repeating itself in Riobamba- but only NOW after researching the martyrdom of Fr. Emilio Moscoso, did I realize that his oblation of self was the reason why she chose to manifest her presence there in Riobamba once again!  Imagine that many of those that had known Fr. Moscoso would have witnessed this prodigy as well!]

[Pope Pius XII]
On April 22, 1956, the 50th anniversary of the first miracle of La Dolorosa, His Holiness Pope Pius XII
ordered the Canonical Coronation of the miraculous image of Our Sorrowful Mother, La Dolorosa, declaring her Queen of the Catholic Education in Ecuador and instructing not only Ecuador, but all those who heard these words:

“…According to the witnesses [of the miracle], the Virgin showed us, even in the midst of her eternal happiness and as a sign of her maternal request for the salvation of her children, anguish and sadness, to the point of appearing to break into tears, to see your Catholic nation ravaged by persecution, stained with blood, dragged to such extremes by the sectarian hatred that could be said to endanger that old and holy legacy of Faith, especially if it succeeded in carrying out the purpose of De-Christianizing the education of your children.

And who can doubt that it was those anguishes and those sorrows that impelled from heaven the forces necessary to put a stop to those powers of evil and thus prepare this springtime of souls, whose fruits now you have the joy to contemplate?...

Receive them kindly, O Dolorosa of the College, or, as thou art more universally known, Dolorosa of Quito; receive them, and may it be precisely Thy sorrows, and Thy tears that have descended on that fertile land, that cause fruits of Christian perfection and holiness to flourish and mature.

It's a city that loves thee and does not want to see thee cry anymore; it is a people willing to mourn for their sins as long as thou dost smile; it is a town of thy children, of thy most devoted children, who today offers thee that crown, as a tangible pledge of reconciliation, as a perennial memory of the love that Thou profess, as a sign of recognition of thy maternal sovereignty.

It is a favorite city that, although it has cost thee tears, it  can assure thee that they are not lost tears, but precisely because of thy tears that it trusts fully in thy goodness and in thy intercession before thy precious Son, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.”