Have you heard of Our Lady of Kibeho? No, not Lourdes, or Fatima or Medjugore. This series of apparitions occurred in the early 1980s in Rwanda. In Africa. Still sound unfamiliar, you're not alone.
I had never heard of Our Lady of Kibeho until this past Sunday. My mother was visiting one day after meeting Immaculée Ilibagiza, Roman Catholic native of Rwanda and ethnic Tutsi who survived the 1994 genocide by praying a rosary unceasingly for 91 days while being hidden in a bathroom with seven other women. She had purchased Ilibagiza's book Our Lady of Kibeho: Mary Speaks to the World from the Heart of Africa as well as Ilibagiza's haunting memoir of the genocide: Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust . She passed along the special rosary of Kibeho and the book to me.
Over the last few days I have been reading the story of Our Lady's appearance to school children in a poor section of Rwanda and the story of the apparitions of the three approved visionaries, Alphonsine, Anathalie and Marie-Claire. There is no doubt in my mind our Lady appeared to these girls and the other, so far, not approved visionaries in the heart of Africa and brought them a message to promote love of all peoples, and to come to her with all problems. Our Lady also told these visionaries of the terrible genocide that would rack their country in 1994.
In this time of crisis in our country and our world, it is easy to fall into despair, even if you are financially stable for the time being. But as Immaculée told my mother, "Go to Our Lady." For as her own personal story confirms, there is nothing that Our Lady cannot do.
As we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent, I have decided to add, in addition to the praying the Sorrowful Mysteries each day to add the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows daily that our country and leaders may be guided by God. That those without hope and suffering loss, will turn to God and hear His voice. That murder of innocents all over the world will cease. And that the love and peace we feel in God's presence be made known to all those in our world.