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Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, 1981-1989

“Our Lady of Kibeho”
KIBEHO, RWANDA  (1981-1989)

Kibeho is a small African village in the mountainous terrain of Rwanda.  This amazing and inspirational story would never have been known to any of us if it had not been for the miraculous survival during that country’s horrible genocide of author Immaculee Ilibagiza, who revealed the details of Blessed Mary’s visits in her book, “Our Lady of Kibeho.” The encounters began on Saturday, November 28, 1981with the first visionary, Alphonsine.

Alphonsine Mumureke (16) was away at a boarding school, helping out in the cafeteria, when she heard somebody in a strong but lovely voice — “soft as air and sweeter than music” — say, “My child …”  Going out into a hallway, she immediately saw a brilliant, luminous, white cloud, materializing in mid-air a few feet in front of her.  An incredibly beautiful Lady emerged from the cloud, floating between the floor and ceiling in a pool of shimmering light.  She wore a flowing, seamless white dress with a white veil that covered her hair.  Her hands were clasped in front of her in a gesture of prayer – her slender fingers pointing toward Heaven.  The girl said that her skin and complexion was of incomparable beauty.  She wore no shoes — just like all the villagers.  As the beautiful figure drifted toward the girl, her feet never touched the ground.  Waves of love emanated from Mary.  Alphonsine felt compelled to drop to her knees, sensing a divine presence.  “Who are you?” she asked.  “I am the Mother of the Word,” replied Mary.  And then Mary asked the amazed girl, “Of all the things in heaven, what makes you happy?”  Alphonsine replied immediately, “I love God and his Mother who have given us their Son who has saved us.”  Mary replied, smiling,

            “It is true.  I have come to assure you of this.  I have heard your prayers.  I would like it   if your companions had more faith, because some of them do not believe enough.  I   want people to trust and love me as a Mother, because I want to lead them to my son,   Jesus.  Now watch as I return to heaven to be with my Son.”

Then Mary smiled and rose gracefully upward, vanishing into the cloud’s dwindling light.  The girl collapsed on the floor in a stupor and could not be roused for 15 minutes.  Almost everyone in the dining room had heard her speaking to someone!  Now a group was in the hallway, trying to revive her.  She was totally exhausted and had much trouble getting to her feet.  When she told of her experience, nobody believed her.  As more experiences continued, so did the harsh ridicule, teasing, and hurtful comments.

Alphonsine falls into mysterious trances with Blessed Mary's arrival.
Alphonsine falls into mysterious trances with Blessed Mary’s arrival.

On one occasion she was walking along with a group of girls when she suddenly dropped to her knees as though she had been shot.  She landed heavily on her knees and stared at the ceiling exactly as she had the day before.  Her face lit up in ecstasy, smiling peacefully with tears of joy running down her cheeks. The transformation was so sudden and dramatic that some girls began to believe.  Others howled with laughter, waving their hands in front of her eyes and shouting in her ears.  But she did not blink, flinch, or react.  She didn’t see the girls any longer – only the beautiful lady hovering above her again in the same soft, glorious light.  Mary was the “most beautiful woman” she had ever seen – and said her skin was neither black nor white, but “shined like polished ivory.”  She did not tell the girls that Mary was giving her important messages to deliver to government officials – even the Hutu president – about their policies of discrimination against Tutsis, praying the Rosary every day, following the Ten Commandments, etc.

On another occasion her classmates would toss rosaries at her while in an ecstasy, trying to hook them on her head like a ring-toss game.  Some girls were respectful and laid their rosaries in front of her, hoping that Mary might bless them.  When Mary told Alphonsine to pick them up so that she could bless them, the girl reached blindly into the pile of all the rosaries, unaware of the girls around her, and managed to only select those from the respectful girls.  Those from the hecklers “stuck to the ground like anchors” and could not be lifted.

At the end of each apparition, Mary would tell Alphonsine exactly when she would next appear – and local villagers starting planning their schedules around them!  Word spread like fire to many other villages, and school officials were afraid that an attention-seeking teenager was going to turn their school and parish into a national embarrassment.  One of the priests gave permission for the harshest heckler, Marie-Claire, to go ahead and torment her even further!  So she organized a group of tormenters to pull her hair, twist her fingers, pinch her very hard, scream in her ears, and shine a powerful flashlight into her eyes.  But Alphonsine had no reaction whatsoever to any of this because she was in an ecstasy with the Virgin Mary.  One day Marie-Claire held a burning candle under her right arm, but still there was no reaction.  The priest, who was encouraging the harassment in order to expose her as a fake, now told Marie-Claire to stick a long needle several inches deep into her arm during the next ecstasy.  Alphonsine still showed no response as she continued to happily chat with Mary.  But she started begging Mary to let other students see her because Alphonsine was tired of the disbelief and ridicule.

"Our Lady of Kibeho" as seen by eight visionaries in Rwanda.
“Our Lady of Kibeho” as seen by eight visionaries in Rwanda.

Some of the faithful students also began praying for Mary to appear to others.  And the Virgin Mary could not have responded with a better choice.  Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, age 17, a pious, devout, no-nonsense, respected student also began to see Mary and receive messages on January 12, 1982.  Feeling strangely emotional, Anathalie sat on her bed in her dormitory room with some other concerned girls.  Her hands trembled violently and things went dark, and she could no longer see her friends.  A blush of light illuminated a strange landscape with oddly-colored flowers and crimson floating bubbles.  The confusing visions scared her, making her cry.  A white sphere descended from above with intense light.  Then a sad woman’s voice said,

“I am sad because I have sent a message, and no one will listen to the words as I desire.  It is my wish for you to cry as you do now.  Your tears are punishment – not because you have sinned against me, but to serve as a reminder that I can punish those who choose to ignore my messages.  My child, you must pray, for the world is in a horrible way.  People have turned from God and the love of my son, Jesus.  If you will work with me, I shall give you a mission to lead those lost souls back from the darkness.”

The messages stressed the need for prayer, deep reflection, humility, and self-sacrifice.  Then Mary told her something that she had told previously to Bernadette in Lourdes, “I cannot promise you happiness in this world, but I can promise you eternal happiness in the next world.”  Others were impressed, but there was still a strong group of doubters led by Marie-Claire, who was more outraged than ever, determined to expose fraud.  Even the priest who had encouraged her harassing, told her to back off now from being so mean.  It would take a miracle to change Marie-Claire – and then it happened!

On March 1, 1982, Marie-Claire fainted during a walk in the garden between classes.  She found herself in a dark area with an odor of human waste and decaying flesh – so disgusting that she felt like vomiting. She ran blindly in the darkness, hoping that she would find her school – and banged right into the front door.  The darkness disappeared.

As daylight returned, she found that two classmates were actually holding her up and her clothes were drenched. They told her that she had been found semi-conscious on the floor of the chapel – and a nun had doused her with holy water to revive her.  Apparently, hours had passed.  Shaken and confused, she tried to recover in her bedroom – only to be back in the darkness again within minutes.  This time menacing beings approached and hovered near her, threatening her with more visits from even more dark beings. Again, she awoke on the floor of the chapel with classmates surrounding her.  Alphonsine handed her a small statue of Our Lady of Lourdes and said,

“Keep her with you to protect you from the evil one.  Last night when the Blessed Mother appeared to me, she warned that the devil was planning to attack students at the school.  She says that we can protect ourselves from the enemy by wearing our rosaries.”

Anathalie is the second visionary to begin having apparitions.
Anathalie is the second visionary to begin having apparitions.

The girls told her that she had had some kind of strange seizure or trance.  Although confused, she remained adamant not to accept Alphonsine or her messages.  But the next day in class as they were singing a hymn, she felt strange and bolted toward the door to try to avoid a blackout.  This time she found herself in a beautiful landscape of manicured grass with dewy droplets reflecting a rainbow-colored sky.  A soft voice came out of nowhere, calling her name, “Mukangango.”  Fearing that this still all might be a trick of the devil, she spun around, fists clenched, looking to defend herself.  The soft sweet voice filled with motherly love called her name again.  Marie-Claire responded, “Okay, you’ve found me.  I am Mukangango.  I’m here, and “I’m ready to fight!”

“(With an affectionate laugh:) Why would you want to fight me, my child?  What is making you so afraid?  Never be afraid of your mother! … There is no need to be afraid of them.  I promise the things of the night that threatened you will not frighten you again.

Sing a song for me using these words:  Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Marie-Claire felt ashamed that Mary was describing her own recent and nasty behavior. She refused to sing, so an amused Mary brought Anathalie into the scene to hold her hand and help her sing.  Then she awakened on the chapel floor again, surrounded by thirty students who had witnessed her in a state of ecstasy, holding hands with Anathalie, and singing to the Blessed Virgin.  Word spread within minutes across the campus that the sworn enemy of the visionaries had confessed to being visited by Mary as well.  Marie-Claire’s rude, aggressive, and negative manner had essentially vanished overnight.

Antagonist Marie-Claire suddenly becomes the third visionary.
Antagonist Marie-Claire suddenly becomes the third visionary.

Later on, Mary showed her a black rosary, “The Rosary of the Seven Sorrows,” and taught her how to pray with it, making it her mission eventually to reintroduce it to the world.  Marie-Claire asked Mary if her sister, who had died a year ago, was in heaven, but Mary explained that she was still in purgatory, waiting.  The visionary complained that their family had prayed extensively for her, so why wasn’t that good enough?

“Praying for your departed loved ones is of great comfort to them and of great help for the souls in purgatory, but people still must work to earn a place in heaven.”

However, in a few days, Mary reported to Marie-Claire that “today your sister entered heaven and joined your father” – much to her delight.

A priest at the high school didn’t believe any of the girls, calling them “a pack of liars,” and wanting these three thrown out of the school.  Marie-Claire approached him with a message from Mary about his “unjustly tormenting her children” and needing to do penance.  “She wants you to kneel down tonight, hold your arms open to God, and pray your rosary three times.”  But the priest called her a liar and ordered her to stay in her dormitory room until morning when he would then deliver a “proper punishment.”

Anathalie, Marie-Claire, and Alphonsine -- the first three Mary came to.
Anathalie, Marie-Claire, and Alphonsine — the first three Mary came to.

That night, the priest decided to play it safe – just in case the visions were authentic – and locked himself in his room, drawing the curtains, and knelt on the floor.  He spread his arms wide and recited the rosary three times.  When he finished, he placed his rosary into his nightstand, placing some books and magazines on top of it before closing the drawer.  The next morning he summoned Marie-Claire for her punishment.  But she was smiling cheerfully when she arrived – and before he could speak, she exclaimed:

“Father – the Blessed Mother is very pleased that you prayed your rosary exactly as she asked you to, but she told me this morning that you shouldn’t have piled all those books and magazines on the rosary when you put it back in the drawer.  She says to keep it with you at all times and pray with it every day.”

The priest was stunned at this amazing validation, and his heart was immediately converted, becoming a huge supporter of the visionaries from then on!  Now, hundreds of curious villagers wanted to visit the campus or hang out near the college dormitory.

Valentine Nyiramukiza had her first apparition in church on May 12, 1982, when she heard a friendly woman’s voice calling softly to her, “You there … little child … Long life to you, child … I am the Mother of God.”  She thought she had imagined this conversation after she looked around her.  But Mary appeared to her in her own home days later and began a series of visits that would become the most frequent and ongoing – even to the present day.  Mary emphasized to Valentine to help others learn how to pray properly,

“You must begin your prayers by offering God all that you conceal in your soul.  God sees your every action and knows your every thought.  You can hide nothing from Him.  Hold back nothing.  Admit all your bad deeds and thoughts.  Then you must ask for God’s forgiveness from the bottom of your heart.  Then your sins will not distract you from praying sincerely. … Then pray to forgive all of those who have trespassed against you. … Pray for the spiritual and physical welfare of your relatives. … You must ask God for strength to do His will.  Pray for courage and wisdom to stay on the right path.”

Agnes had many public apparitions in Kibeho.
Agnes had many public apparitions in Kibeho.

Stephanie Mukamurenzi (age 14) saw Mary for the first time on May 25, 1982 while still in grade school – and was teased like the others by her classmates.  Her messages emphasized placing God above everything else, praying honestly, and resisting temptations “that Satan places in front of you” that will “bring people to his darkness.”

On August 4, 1982, Agnes Kamagaju (21) had her first visions.  Lying on her bed in her room, she began feeling an intense happiness that caused her to start giggling and laughing so loudly that it woke her parents.  Then the Virgin Mary emerged from a spectacular glowing light.  She was young and very beautiful, dressed in a white dress with a blue veil.  The light surrounding her glowed like a crown about her head.  She soon identified herself as “the Immaculate Conception.”  She told her to start praying the rosary, and when she did, they were both transported to a beautiful field of flowers with a “crystal ship floating in the stars above.”  Two nights later, her bedroom filled with light again, and Mary revealed to her that she was “the Mother from Heaven.”  This time she pointed down to the ground where a dark pool “like an enormous puddle of black ink” was spreading across the ground.  She was afraid of being sucked down into it.

“That is where people dwell who remain enveloped in the death of sin.  My Son has a mission for you.  You are to lead the young people away from the darkness of sin and back into His light.”

Then Agnes also had visions of Jesus with similar words regarding the need for conversion, prayer, renunciation of idolatry, fornication, and hypocrisy.  On August 18, 1982, at a time when AIDS was becoming an epidemic in Africa, Jesus told her,

“They should not use their bodies as an instrument of pleasure.  They are using all means to love and be loved, and they forget that the true love comes from God.  Instead         of being at the service of God, they are at the service of money.  They must make of their body an instrument destined to the glory of God and not an object of pleasure at the service of men.  Young men must seek to satisfy the hunger of their spirit, not feed the desires of their flesh.  They should pray to Mary to show them the right way to God.”

Thousands gathered for the apparitions and miraculous signs in the sky.
Thousands gathered for the apparitions and miraculous signs in the sky.

Many thousands attended the public apparitions of Agnes and were often amazed at celestial displays that accompanied her visits from the Virgin Mary.

“The sun danced across the sky right before my eyes!  It danced and changed into many colors, like a rainbow swirling in a glass circle, and then it became as gray and pale as the moon.  There was suddenly another sun behind the first one, illuminating it.  On the face of the moon was a giant Eucharist and chalice, and then the colors changed again – like a third sun had emerged that was red, green, and gold.  And the face of the Virgin Mary appeared in the center of the sun – just as clear as day!”

“Thousands started looking up – when I looked up, I’d thought I’d gone crazy.  I blinked and rubbed my eyes again … the sun really was dancing!  It moved back and forth as though God Himself were tossing it from one hand to the other.  And then another sun emerged from the dancing light.  There were two suns in the sky!  They spun in circles of opposite direction.  One spun clockwise and the other counterclockwise.  But then they spun into each other, reuniting as a single sun.”

The "Boy who met Jesus" -- Segatashya, the only male visionary.
The “Boy who met Jesus” — Segatashya, the only male visionary.

Agnes pointed to the sky as Jesus spoke to her and said to the crowds,

“Behold what you see.  Are there any among you who can deny now that they have a sign?  Watch closely and remember what you witness.  Believe your eyes or deny what you are seeing.”

“There, far above our heads, was an image of Jesus on the cross with the Blessed Mother standing below him with her head bowed in grief.  When I checked to see if others were witnessing the same scene, I saw 15,000 people dropping to their knees, many making the sign of the cross as they looked to the sky through tears of love.”

Investigators and doctors continued to monitor and test the visionaries, pinching the girls with pliers, sticking them with needles, twisting their arms behind their backs, and shoving them hard to the ground.  One very large man, a doctor, kneeled on top of one of the teenagers and bounced up and down on her chest!  None of the visionaries ever reacted or were ever injured.  In fact, they didn’t even seem to notice as their faces beamed with love and joy, chatting and singing to the Virgin.

Segatashya goes into an ecstasy with the Virgin Mary.
Segatashya goes into an ecstasy with the Virgin Mary.

Segatashya (15) was a poor, unschooled boy, with no religious training at all, picking beans in a field on July 2, 1982.  Yet, he was surprised by a man’s voice coming out of nowhere, and then the figure of a handsome, 30 year-old man was suddenly next to him.  The man calmed his fears and filled him somehow with an inexplicable joy.  He taught Emmanuel the Lord’s Prayer and then identified himself as Jesus, saying, “I am neither white nor black; I am simply Lord.”

Christians in Rwanda were in an uproar — how could a pagan boy with no schooling be chosen by Jesus to give the world a message?  But the boy addressed a crowd of 2,000, stating quite logically, “I am a boy with no schooling. If I had not been sent by Jesus, how could I present myself to you?”  Unable to read or write, he then delivered eloquent and articulate messages from Jesus about the need for prayer and reparation, returning to the sacraments, Eucharist, and confession — all words that the boy had not heard before or understood, himself.  Many members of the bishop’s Commission of Enquiry were amazed at the depth and breadth of the illiterate peasant boy’s knowledge of the Bible and theology, as well as his eloquence in conveying that knowledge.  When he finally became baptized, Jesus told him to take the name Emanuel – which means “God is with us.”

Vestine (24) was the eighth and final youth to be contacted on September 15, 1982.  Mary’s messages were global and did not ask the Muslims or Protestants to covert, either.

“When I show myself to someone and talk to them, I want to turn to the whole world.  If I am now turning to the parish of Kibeho, it does not mean that I am only concerned for Kibeho … I am concerned with and am turning to the whole world.”

Another visionary, Stephanie, begins having visitations.
Another visionary, Stephanie, begins having visitations.

The messages were accompanied by extraordinary signs seen in the sky.  Several times people saw a cross or crown of thorns in the sky near the sun.  When Agnes asked for a blessing for the people present, a light refreshing rain fell on them, actually healing cuts and wounds from the pilgrims’ long treks to get there.

Three of the visionaries took mystical journeys with Mary.  Before Alphonsine went on her journey, Mary instructed her to inform the school director “not to bury her – even if she appears dead.” The stunned director knew by now to take Alphonsine seriously.  She told them that she would be away for the whole weekend.  Failing to show for the Friday evening meal, a nun went to check on her on Saturday morning.  She was stunned to find her lying unresponsive on her bed – unable to be awakened or even budged an inch.  The director grabbed the school nurse and summoned Abbot Augustin Misago, a leading member of the Commission of Enquiry.  Soon, there were many concerned officials, priests, and others in attendance as Alphonsine truly appeared dead.  Medical experts concluded that she was still alive, but that her pulse rate was impossibly slow and her blood pressure too low with breathing almost nonexistent – a shallow breath once a minute.  As many as six men tried with all their might to roll her over, separate her clasped hands, or lift her from the bed, but without any success!  Eighteen hours later, Alphonsine awoke, livelier than ever — with sparkling eyes, relaxed muscles, and a glowing face.  Later, she described her journey:

“The first place Mary took me was dark and very frightening, filled with shadows and groans of sadness and pain.  She called it the Place of Despair, where the road leading away from God’s light ends.  Another place was filled with the golden light of happiness and laughter and songs sung by so many joyous voices.  Mary explained that I could not see them while I was still living below.  But one called out my name and said that she had been a visionary, too, and had been persecuted for her visions.  But she joyfully urged me to have faith and confidence in the Blessed Mother, for she would protect me.”

Anathalie also had a mystical journey which began on the podium in front of the crowds after a five-hour apparition.  She collapsed into the same “frozen-limbs” state of near-death with the same officials and doctors vigilant and testing her.  Seven hours later, she awoke and was carried to her bed where she did not speak for two days.

Valentine is another visionary who still receives messages
Valentine is another visionary who still receives messages

She finally described her journey with Mary.  The first landscape was comprised of varying shades of vivid color and light, and people there traveled by “sliding through the light.”  Another strange land was illuminated only by white light.  She saw seven handsome men (angels) wearing white cloaks, standing in a circle, and creating the most beautiful music without any instruments.  Mary called it ‘Isangano’ – a place of communion where angels praise God, watch over Earth, and aid humanity when they are needed or called upon.  The third place contained millions of people dressed in white, who seemed overwhelmingly happy, but not as blissful as the angels had been.  Mary called this place, ‘Isesengurwa’ – a place of purification.  The last place they visited was “a land of twilight” – illuminated only by an unpleasant shade of red, and stifling dry and hot.  She couldn’t look at the countless people there because of their misery and anguish.  She knew it must be Hell.  Mary said,

“Spend two days reflecting in silence on what you have seen.  Do not meditate on the angels you saw; they are not of this world.  The first place, the happy world of the cherished of God, was reserved for people whose hearts are good, who pray regularly, and who strive always to follow God’s will.  Our second visit was to the place of purification – for those who called on God only during times of trouble, turning away from Him when their troubles were over.  The last place of heat and no name was for those who never paid God any attention at all.”

Vestine’s trip was largely a test of faith – as Jesus asked her to die for Him on Good Friday, have her soul go to heaven, but be resurrected and returned on Sunday – like he had.  But she trusted that he would keep his promise, so she begged others to not bury her if she appeared dead.  Investigators, journalists, doctors, officials, and members of the Commission of Enquiry tensely awaited Easter weekend, wondering how she was going to die.

At 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Vestine was seized with a sudden pain and fell back on her bed, closed her eyes and “died.”  Doctors were dumbfounded – her blood pressure had dropped to zero; no heartbeat or pulse could be detected.  For hours they pondered what to do, wanting to trust that what she had said would happen — but staring at cold science that indicated she was truly dead.  Vestine would take a deep breath every hour or two, so everybody sat tight and waited for the next 40 hours.  Just after dawn on Easter Sunday, Vestine woke up, rubbed her eyes, stretched her arms, yawned, and exclaimed cheerfully, “Good morning, everyone! Happy Easter!”  Doctors checked her and found her body to be back to complete and normal functioning again.  However, a cross had formed on the center of her forehead – which doctors said was some kind of mysterious change in the pigmentation of her skin — not caused by injury, bruising, or burning.  She said that heaven was difficult to describe:

“There are just no words for it.  There were colors I’d never seen before, and they sounded like music.  And there was music I’d never heard before that sounded like color.  I just don’t know how to explain the feeling of being there.  I begged Jesus from the bottom of my soul to let me stay there.  He said that it wasn’t my time, so I must leave.”

Doctors run tests while Alphonsine is in her ecstasy with Mary.
Doctors run tests while Alphonsine is in her ecstasy with Mary.

With Mary promising to appear on August 15, 1982 for the Feast of the Assumption, there was much festivity, anticipation, and excitement.  More than 20,000 people turned out – some hoping for cures for their sick relatives.  But when Mary appeared, the visionaries’ efforts to sing to her were cut short unexpectedly by Mary’s tears of pain and grief.  Mary indicated that her efforts were not appreciated, and then one horrifying vision after another came to Alphonsine, causing her to scream in terror.  There were images of destruction, trees exploding into flames, torture, human carnage, severed human heads gushing blood, and a vast valley piled high with the remains of a million rotting, headless corpses with not a single soul left alive to bury the dead.  Every visionary received the same horrific images from the weeping Virgin that day.  For hours their horrified cries echoed through the hills, all of them describing “rivers of blood, savage murders, and the rotting remains of hundreds of thousands of people.”

The visions lasted anywhere from several months to a year for the seven youth, ending in 1989.  Ten thousand were in attendance for that final contact with Alphonsine on November 28, 1989.  Although it was raining steadily, the girl remained strangely dry during her experience.  Here are some of the Virgin’s words on that final visit:

“My children, in truth, I am not staying as long as I used to do as I have told you all that was necessary.  I have just told you what more I needed from you.  As I said, I want to remind you that I am happy.  I am happy with the fruits that were born in Rwanda since I came here.  Don’t worry about the difficulties you have.  Nothing is better than having God.  My dear children, problems exist everywhere, but the most important thing is to have an accepting heart without complaining.”

“You all who are called crazy because you like to pray, all of you who are called thieves, those to whom they say that you are losing time by giving your life to God, I tell you that one day you will be happy.”

“All of you who are sick with incurable diseases, a good heart surpasses all; there are no riches that are beyond a clean heart.  All of you who have had difficulties of all kinds, there are difficulties everywhere, in all walks of life.  When they don’t go away, offer them to God.  Every good Christian is requested to offer a sacrifice.  All of you who have problems in your families, think of the Holy Family, who lived in poverty, and who lived among those who didn’t like them nor understood them, and with the problems you have, come close to them.  All of you who have dedicated your lives to God, a life like that is not easy.  The most important thing is to be faithful to your promises.”

As predicted vividly by the Virgin Mary, the deadly genocide happens in 1994.
As predicted vividly by the Virgin Mary, the deadly genocide happens in 1994.

“All of you young people, when you are young, you think that you can do anything; be careful not to fall and damage yourself for good.  All of you leaders, who have the capacity to represent many people, don’t kill, but save; don’t be greedy, but share with others, and don’t attempt to hurt those who are trying to expose your wrongdoings.  I tell you, anyone you want to hurt, because they love people and are defending human rights, because they are defending the cause of the poor and the simple, because they are defending anything good and trying to love God, I tell you, whatever you do will be in vain.”

“My children, saying goodbye to you doesn’t mean that I am forgetting Africa, not even the whole world.  It doesn’t mean that I am going to forget Rwandans.  I am asking you not to forget the love I have loved you with when I came to your country.”

Mother Mary also told the visionaries that suffering is “a part of our daily bread while still on earth.”  She taught them how to accept and suffer well – and that suffering leads to heaven.  Suffering teaches us many things that we would not otherwise learn.  “Each person carries a cross, but what is important is to offer our sufferings to God and live through them without complaining.”

Our Lady said that if her warning came to pass, not to cry for those who would die because the gates of heaven would be open for them as they will have died innocently.

“Cry for those who will remain alive because many will be tempted to violence and revenge.  Others will not be able to bear to live with the wrong they have done to others.  There will be some who will be left; they will be left to tell of the goodness of God, because there is nothing else that could console then after the pain they would have experienced.”

Genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza kept Kibeho's story from vanishing.
Genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza kept Kibeho’s story from vanishing.

Alphonsine echoes this lesson in her own learning and these words:

“With all I had to suffer, I now understand that it was necessary for me to go through it to know the truth and learn more about life.  You see, if one lives without problems, one will never learn the lessons that one learns through resolving those problems.  It would not be good to live without problems.”

Our Lady reminds us that the child of Mary always bears crosses graciously.  The child of Mary dies with many words still in the heart.  The child of Mary carries crosses with joy.  The child of Mary sees the world as NOTHING. (Things do not matter.)

The shrine in Rwanda for Our Lady of Kibeho.
The shrine in Rwanda for Our Lady of Kibeho.

Then, as horribly predicted by the Virgin Mary, a terrible genocide came to Rwanda in the spring of 1994, with more than a million innocent souls murdered and chopped to pieces by the ruling tribal government in an effort to exterminate all those who belonged to the Tutsi tribe.  Thousands upon thousands of decapitated bodies were dumped into rivers that then ran thick with human blood.  Three visionaries, Marie-Claire, Stephanie, and the boy, Segatashya, all died in the holocaust.  The author of “Our Lady of Kibeho,” Immaculee Ilibagiza, lost her whole family while she was secretly hidden in a tiny 3 by 4-foot bathroom of a preacher’s home with seven other women in silence for three months.  She describes her miraculous survival and escape in her book, “Left to Tell.”  Today, Immaculee Ilibagiza sometimes links up with either visionary Valentine or Anathalie on pilgrimages and hears some of the messages that Valentine still receives.

The amazing and detailed accuracy of Mary’s predictions convinced everybody of her authentic messages.  Finally, in 2001, after 20 long years of investigation and seven years after the genocide, with overwhelming evidence Bishop Augustin Misago declared the apparitions to be authentic.  Three days later, the Pope and the Vatican added Kibeho to the list of approved Marian apparition sites.  Today love and peace flow from Kibeho as a place of spiritual hope and renewal.