Our Lady of Fatima predicted that, unless her requests were heeded, Russia would cause wars and persecutions of the Church. Similarly, Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda made requests and predictions. Yet how well have we fulfilled these requests?
Insufficient participation in the Five First Saturdays Devotion resulted in the Soviet Union. Although it finally dissolved, Russia is once again invading another country. This crisis moved Pope Francis to reconsecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Over the centuries, the Blessed Mother has tried so hard to warn us and save us, but we continually ignore her requests. How dare we ignore the Mother of God?
The Kibeho Apparitions
Consider Kibeho. From 1981-83, the Blessed Mother appeared there, warning of terrible bloodshed unless Rwandans opened their hearts to God’s love.
The first to see the Virgin Mary was Alphonsine Mumureke, a high school student. Just as the reports of the Portuguese children at Fatima and Bernadette at Lourdes were met with scorn, school officials and the church were angered by her claims.
Our Lady, who called herself the Mother of the Word, asked Alphonsine to tell government officials to allow members of the Tutsi tribe, who had been driven out of Rwanda, to return to their homes. Then there would be peace with the rival Hutu tribe.
Shortly afterwards, the Blessed Mother appeared to Nathalie Mukamazimpaka. She and Alphonsine were particularly tormented by Marie-Claire Mukangango until Marie-Claire also experienced visions in March of 1982.
Our Lady taught Marie-Claire the ancient Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary and asked her to teach it to the world, starting with those around her. Soon, thousands from across Rwanada were making pilgrimages to Kibeho and witnessing miracles.
Although many of the message were uplifting, Our Lady also warned:
“The world is evil and rushes towards its ruin. It is about to fall in its abyss. The world is in rebellion against God. Many sins are being committed. There is no love and no peace. If you do not repent and convert your hearts, you will all fall into an abyss.”
Then on the feast of the Assumption in 1982, in front of 20,000 people, Alphonsine had a vision of people cutting each other to pieces and thousands of piles of headless corpses.
That is exactly what happened in 1994 when the Hutus committed genocide against the Tutsis. Nearly a million people died, including Marie-Claire. Alphonsine and Nathalie were forced to flee Rwanda.
Alphonsine entered a Poor Clares monstery in 2003. Nathalie works at the Kibeho shrine, welcoming and praying with the pilgrims.
The prediction of the genocide was a major factor in the church’s 2001 decision to declare the visions of these three girls “worthy of belief.” More than thirty people claimed to have visions at Kibeho, but only these three were approved by the Vatican.
Immaculée Ilibagiza and the Shrine
There is a wonderful book called Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculée Ilibagiza, a genocide survivor. For 91 days, she and seven other women hid in a tiny bathroom to escape the slaughter.
During her confinement, Ilibagiza prayed constantly and grew closer to God. She now lives in New York, writes and gives talks about God’s love and the power of forgiveness. She is, of course, devoted to Our Lady of Kibeho and the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. https://www.immaculee.com/ https://www.catholicherald.com/article/local/rwandan-genocide-survivor-promotes-
Ilibagiza emphasizes that Our Lady asked for the construction of two churches in Kibeho. The smaller is to be called the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. The basilica is to be called The Place of the Reunion of the Dispersed. https://www.catholicdigest.com/from-the-magazine/immaculee-ilibagiza-on-screen/
When the students told Our Lady that they were from poor people, she said that she had many children in the world who could help. Nonetheless, no action was taken. The local bishop also said there was no money for the project.
So when Ilibagiza met with Pope Francis in 2015, she asked him to call the Rwandan bishop. He did, telling the bishop that all that matters is to make sure the will of Our Lady is done. After all, she even specified the measurements and the site!
Currently, there is a temporary shrine to Our Lady of Kibeho, dedicated in 2003. The church and grounds have expanded over the years and see 20,000 pilgrims on feast days. http://kibeho-sanctuary.com/en/sacrificial-message-of-our-lady-of-kibeho/
The shrine that Our Lady wants is yet to be completed. Donations can be made on the shrine site and Ilibagiza’s website. Plans can be seen at: https://sdra.com/basilica-at-kibeho/
It is said that “where Mary is, so is the Church.” Wherever people pray to the Blessed Mother, the Church is strong. To achieve peace and salvation, we must overcome apathy and fulfill Our Lady’s requests.