Our Lady of Kibeho: Messages from the Mother of God in the Heart of Africa by Immaculee Ilibagiza
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Immaculée Ilibagiza has done it again. She has captured hearts and minds with her truly amazing book. I was so entranced by its story and the author's deep and trusting love for the Blessed Mother that I still find myself thinking about it several days since I've finished reading it. And I pray that I will take its lessons to heart.
Our Lady of Kibeho is an approved Marian apparition site in a tiny, obscure village on the edge of Rwanda. The Virgin Mary appeared to 3 school girls in Kibeho, one by one. Later, Mary and her son, Jesus, would appear to at least 4 others, including an illiterate pagan to whom Jesus himself taught scripture, prayers and basic doctrine. The nuns at the school, the village priest, and all their classmates were at first unbelieving and taunted the visionaries, calling them liars and devils. When the girls would fall into a trance-like state of ecstasy when being visited by the Blessed Mother, their classmates would pinch, poke and burn the visionaries to try to illicit some response but they only kept their blissful smiles and radiant faces turned toward the sky and were totally unaware of any harm being done to them.
As a natural skeptic myself, I appreciated the thorough tests and interviews the Vatican put the visionaries through. After 20 years of investigations, the Vatican approved Kibeho as an authentic Marian apparition site in 2001. This means it is worthy of belief, yet the Church never requires belief in any Marian apparition.
Our Lady came to Kibeho in 1981, it would seem, with a message of urgency for Rwanda and all the world: to repent from our sins and believe. She revealed to the visionaries the terrible violence that would befall Rwanda during the genocide of 1994. The prophecies were horrifically accurate. One million Tutsis were mercilessly slaughtered to death. They were pulled from their homes and chopped to pieces by machete by their own friends and neighbors. How could this evil have happened? Our Lady's message to her children was that we are all capable of such evil if we hide it in our hearts.
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