Memento vivere: the life of Saint Ezekiel Moreno in digital animation.

The Saint Augustine School of Valladolid and the Communication and Publications Commission materialize the ancient desire to bring the life and personality of St. Ezekiel Moreno, the missionary saint, educator, bishop and protector of cancer patients.

The Saint Augustine School of Valladolid and the Commission for Communication and Publications of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine of the Augustinian Recollects have just presented “Memento vivere”, the animation of six chapters of less than four minutes each about Saint Ezekiel Moreno (1848-1906).

It was an old desire of the Augustinian Recollects, who want to bring the current culture, of habitual consumption of short audiovisuals and animations, to a character of the century XIX. The main notes of his biography were extracted from the life of Saint Ezekiel Moreno, from his personality and his actions to turn them into a “motion comic”.

It was a truly polyhedral life: missionary in the Philippines, formation of religious in Spain, restorer of the Augustinian Recollect consecrated life in Colombia, bishop in that same South American country and sick with cancer at a time when suffering was multiplied by the lack of knowledge, techniques, professionals and medicines.

Valladolid is the urban setting where Amazon shoots Memento mori, a series based on the homonymous novel, the first of the trilogy Verses, songs and pieces of meat by César Pérez Gellida. It is a police thriller on the hunt for a murderer starring Yon González, Francisco Ortiz and Juan Echanove.

This filming has revolutionized the city, which is why they wanted to title the life of Saint Ezekiel with a contrast; Memento vivere: remember that you will live, a nod to the Resurrection; remember that you are life, that you transform the world; and, above all, remember that you have already lived, as in The Confessions of Saint Augustine, that cry of thanks to God.

The life of the saint is divided into six chapters that reflect his childhood and his preparation to be friar; his mission in the Philippines, where he even participated in the founding of a city; when he was a formator of missionaries in the novitiate; when he volunteers to relaunch the mission in Colombia; his stage as bishop of Pasto; and, finally, his confrontation with cancer.

It has been necessary to adapt the script with a balance between historical fidelity, needs narratives and particularities of animation; real phrases have also been introduced historical, avoiding as far as possible that they appear outdated.

Students and teachers have collaborated in the sound part, acting as sound technician recording and voices. The Augustinian Recollect Fernando Martín, member of the Commission of Communication and Publications and the Recollect community of the Saint Augustine School, has been in charge of coordination and computer animation.

Among the challenges has been to include completely remote environments in the visual narration of the “default settings” of the application, such as a convent in Spain, the missions in the Philippines or an episcopal palace in Colombia.

None of the participants in the production is an animation professional, none had this as a preferential or main occupation, nor was there a specific budget. All this has been supplied with imagination, illusion and affection.

The final result is pleasant for young people and adults and manages to make the life of Saint Ezekiel Moreno something nice and close, despite the fact that so much time has passed and they have changed both forms and social contexts.

At the end of each chapter, questions and reflections are added to relate the life of Ezequiel with that of the spectator, faced with similar challenges although in a different context.

Chapter 1: from home to the altar

Voices: Daniel García, Guillermo Herrero and Mónica Voynikova (4th ESO students). The teacher Álvaro Navarro gives voice to Saint Ezekiel in all the chapters and Eduardo Burgos has been director scene and sound technician.

Saint Ezequiel Moreno was born in Alfaro, La Rioja, Spain, 1848. At the age of 17 he entered the novitiate of the Augustinian Recollects in Monteagudo, Navarra, Spain. The scene unfolds in a classroom of a current school.

— And you, what do you want to be in life?

Chapter 2: Around the Magellan Islands

Voices: Alfonso Hernández, Miguel Ángel Quiroga, Jorge Martínez.

Saint Ezekiel spent 17 years as a missionary in the Philippines. The scene takes place in the port of Manila, Philippines, at the time when Ezekiel, before embarking back to Spain, He talks and says goodbye to his friends.

— Would you like to be a missionary or do some international volunteering?

Chapter 3: Prior of the Novitiate

Voices: María del Pozo, Lorena Polo, Marta Aguirre.

Saint Ezequiel was prior of the novitiate of the Augustinian Recollects in Monteagudo (Navarra, Spain) for 3 years. His job was to train future Augustinian Recollects. In that time, when there were great catastrophes such as famines and cholera epidemics, he helped lots of townspeople. This is what some friends say while shopping in a store.

— Who is Jesus for you?

—What things would you like to do moved by your faith?

Chapter 4: Colombia’s call

Voices: Jesús Garrote, Fernando Pérez and Gustavo Ávila, Augustinian Recollect.

Saint Ezequiel went to Colombia with the mission of revitalizing the Augustinian Recollects. He always felt like a missionary, and during this time he devoted himself to the mission of Casanare.

— Do you accept and face reality as it comes or do you get frustrated when things are not as you want when you want?

Chapter 5: Bishop to Death

Voices: Jesús Garrote, Fernando Pérez and Gustavo Ávila, Augustinian Recollect.

Saint Ezequiel was Bishop of Pasto, Colombia. At that time, liberalism strongly attacked the Church and Ezequiel found himself strongly accused and many “false news” to discredit him.

— Do you defend the truth in any situation?

— Do you show your faith naturally in public?

Chapter 6: The Via Dolorosa

Voices: Andrés Marcos.

Saint Ezekiel was diagnosed with malignant palatal-nasal cancer in Bogotá. he returned to Spain with the intention of having surgery in Barcelona, but gravity made him have to emergency surgery in Madrid. Those were times when existing techniques and remedies they forced the sick to enormous suffering and the convalescence was hard and painful.

When the doctors declared Ezekiel hopeless, he spent his last days in the novitiate from Monteagudo. He never lost his serene countenance. He went to confession daily, prayed the rosary, he attended mass from the window that he asked to open to see the Virgen del Camino.

The two last months he spent in bed unable to get up. He could neither speak nor hear. The sight also had been affected.

He died on August 19, 1906 caressing a picture of the Virgin.