Today In Fact, 24 July

Ezechiel Ramin was born into a humble family in Italy in 1954. From his school days in Padua, he organized a series of charity drives for a local charity and was acutely aware of the scourge of poverty around the world. In 1972, young Ezechiel joined the Comboni missionaries who sent him to study in Florence and Chicago.

He was sent to work with the poor and dispossessed first in South Dakota among native Americans and then in Mexico. Ezechiel returned to Naples in 1981 and organized demonstrations against the local Mafia.

In 1984 his superiors assigned him to the town of Cacoal in Brazil. The situation in Cacoal was explosive. Landowners were violently oppressing peasants and the indigenous Surui had recently been forced to settle and abandon their traditional lifestyles.

Inspired by Dietrich Bonhoefer, Ezechial worked with the poor and oppressed in the area and tried to encourage them to take up their struggle non-violently. On this day in 1985, Ezechial and a local Union leader, Adilio de Souza called a public meeting to encourage non-violent protest against the landowners.

After the meeting while walking back to his mission house, seven hired guns killed him in the street. De Souza was unharmed and it seems had betrayed Ezechiel to a local landowner who hired the men to kill the priest.

His last words were: “I forgive you”.

It seems that Adilio de Souza was given a piece of land for his betrayal.

Two of the seven killers were eventually tried and sentenced to life terms of imprisonment and the local Surui took up arms against the local landowners, killing at least three in the ensuing months.

Just 31 years old, Ezechiel Ramin lived and gave his life for the poor and oppressed.What are you doing?

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (

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