A Special meeting of the Imperial Grand Lodge was convened to confer the Royal Arch Purple degree on Bro. Rev Mariano Salguero. This was a historical meeting  as it was being held to confer the Royal Arch Purple Degree on a member of the Institution from Argentina. 

Following the opening of the Lodge by IGM Rt Wor Bro James Anderson and the usual welcoming remarks the chair was taken over by senior lecturer Wor Bro Cyril Glass who called on Wor Bro Roy Wilson to conduct the obligation with the candidate Bro Rev Mariano Salguero. 

South America’s Only Orange Lodge

Mariano is a member of Rev. William C. Morris Independent Orange Lodge No. 105, in Beunos Aires, Argentina . It is named after William Case Morris, one of the most famous Protestants to have left their mark on South America. He was born in England 1864, his family emigrated to Argentina 1874. He left a promising business career to work among the very poorest people in a district renowned for its evil and squalor and began to teach the street children of the neighbourhood. Guided by his protestant faith he in 1889 founded the ‘Boca Mission’. He united the small protestant community there and raised funds for a Mission Hall, he was ordained by the first Bishop of the Falkland Isles, and he subsequently founded and acted as Chaplain at the Church of St. Paul in the suburbs of Palermo.

South America’s Dr. Barnardo

William Morris was recognised as one of the most enthusiastic philanthropists of his age. He had an especially sincere love for childhood and was affectionately known in South America as the “children’s friend”.

He was born in Ely in 1864 and came to Soham Grammar School at an exceptionally early age. He left School and, while still a young man, he emigrated to South America where he set about conducting a business career. In 1886 he settled in Buenos Aires and in his spare time he worked among the very lowest classes in a district renowned for its evil and squalor. Here, in a religiously apathetic atmosphere, he formed many social religious gatherings and paid a man a salary to educate them, so that in a short time he became established as a friend of the lower classes. He then made a sacrifice which must have been very great to him: he gave up all thoughts of his business career and in 1889 founded what was called the Boca Mission, which continued and extended religious work among the Spanish-speaking lower classes, acting in close co-operation with the American Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1892 he returned to England and here he made a solemn vow over his mother’s grave that he would dedicate his whole life to the bettering of the conditions of the poor children of South America. He never once wavered from this noble determination.

In 1895 he sought entry into the South American Missionary Society, hoping that he would be able to continue and improve his work among the waifs and strays of Buenos Aires. The Society accepted him in 1897 and granted him permission to make an appeal for £5,000 with which to begin work. Later in 1897, he returned with his wife to South America where they spent 35 years of ceaseless work, rendered all the more effective by his now being able to speak Spanish.

Back in Palermo, he founded a new school – it began with 18 pupils and soon had over 2,000 a fact illustrative of his ever-widening influence. This school was the germ of the mighty organisation which later came into being, known as the “Argentine Philanthropic Schools and Institutes”. This great structure contained every possible branch of education for every class of people and every age of pupil. All school needs were provided, and medical examinations and career assistance were available.

One of his most appreciated accomplishments was the foundation of the El Alba Home, which housed 350 homeless children and moreover educated them in such practical skills as carpentry for the boys and dress-making for the girls. He also founded and built St. Paul’s Church, in which he officiated as chaplain for 34 years. Among his other institutions were one chapel, three Christian Mission Halls and five Sunday Schools, all of which used Spanish translations of the Prayer Book. His funds came from many private subscriptions and various government subsidies, all secured by Morris’ devoted efforts. It is no exaggeration to say that thousands of illiterate South Americans were thus converted to Christianity. Yet, while maintaining close contact with the poorer people, he also succeeded in greatly influencing the upper classes by means of his monthly magazine, “La Reforma”.

His work was well-known in Britain, too, for in 1925 he received official recognition by being reviewed by the Prince of Wales who was on a state visit to South America. In April 1932, he fell ill through over-work. Everyone, from the humblest labourer to the President of the Republic, enquired after his progress, but he improved until in June, when his health permitted, he returned home to England with his wife. In July he attended a reception of Missionaries given by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As his health improved but little, he decided to return to South America but he died on the eve of his departure and was buried at Soham on September 17th, 1932. He was 68 years old and had spent nearly 50 years of his life working in South America.

Rev. Morris was known as the “Dr. Barnardo of Argentina”; unlike most British South Americans, he did not shut himself among a selected group of friends, but unselfishly devoted his whole life to improving the lot of those less fortunate than himself. He was a forceful yet gentle personality and a great gospel-preacher whose clear, concise phrases appealed to all audiences. He possessed a simple but sincere eloquence that reflected his high moral spirit. He was seldom refused when he asked for help, whether financial or otherwise, and was always received with respect and affection. He suffered a strange and modest humiliation because of his awareness of not having received a proper theological education. His noble self-sacrifice did not go unnoticed ; his was perhaps the highest reward any such man could expect – the love of countless children.


Rev. Salguero was in Ulster on a speaking tour of local churches, and brought fraternal greetings from his lodge. His grasp of Orangeism and its relevance internationally was impressive, and while language was not a barrier, it was encouraging to see that our principles and ethos translates well in every sence. Having flown directly from Argentina via France and Dublin before reaching Ballymoney, over 7,500 miles later it was commented that it was the longest journey any of our members have made for a lodge meeting!

Independent Orangeism does travel well with lodges having been established over the years in the United States, Canada, Australia and Argentina as well as the Home Nations. However it has also traveled far from its orgins in Loughall, Co Armagh. Members were reminded of the formation of the Orange Order in 1795 during a visit and lodge meeting at Sloans House this year. In 1903 web believe those founding principles were rediscovered and form the basis of our Institution today.

Finding Faith in a Far-Off Land

Many of us take our faith for granted, and the privileges of being born in a Protestant country where the gospel is preached freely. It is refreshing to hear the testimony of someone who had had to find all that, and who like Luther and those early reformers undertook a journey that brought them to saving faith. This modern day personal Reformation is truly inspirational. Bro. Rev Salguero discovered what many of us have the privilege of hearing week upon week, but our prayer is that just as he was led to a saving faith so would those who take this for granted.