Rwanda: Mission of Mercy

"It is true that the Mother of God appeared in Kibeho on the day of November 28, 1981 and during the following months."
— Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro, Rwanda

This approval from Bishop Misago on June 29, 2001, has helped make Kibeho the "Lourdes of Africa." Thousands make a pilgrimage there annually to a shrine that was built in honor of Our Lady of Kibeho.

At the Bishop's urging, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are in the process of building a Formation Center near the shrine in order to help insure that the many pilgrims who now flock there receive sound teachings about Mary to avoid any misinterpretation of the apparitions.

They've already helped many to understand Mary's central message in Kibeho, which is one of prayer, penance, fasting, conversion, reconciliation, the importance of the Rosary, and preparation for the return of Jesus.

'Mother of the Word'
Our Lady first appeared in Kibeho on Nov. 28, 1981.

Three female high school students received the apparitions. Our Lady identified herself as "Nyina Wa Jambo," which means "the Mother of the Word" — that is to say, the Mother of God.

Each of the three women reported they received a prophecy of the ethnic violence that took the lives of about 10 percent of the country's population. They reported seeing "a river of blood, people who killed one another, abandoned bodies with no one to bury them, a tree on fire, an open chasm, a monster and decapitated heads."

In Kibeho, itself, 25,000 people were massacred.

'A Real Hunger for God'
"There has been so much violence — this country has been so traumatized," says Fr. Leszek Czelusniak, MIC, who leads the Marian mission in Kibeho.

"We still see terrible wounds that affect people, especially the youth. But we also see a real hunger for God."

With funding from Marian Helpers throughout the United States and Poland, and through the hands-on help of local laborers, the Marians have built a small residence for the Marian missionaries, an outdoor field altar, a chapel, and a 14-room pilgrim house, all anchored on a hilltop by the 18-foot-tall statue of Jesus, The Divine Mercy.

The Marians have also built a school in the village that now serves around 700 children. When funds are raised, an addition will be built to provide more children the opportunity for an education.

"Kibeho," said Fr. Leszek, "is a very important place — a spiritual place. This is a site where Our Lady chose to give her messages for the whole world, and the Marians have the opportunity to do a lot of good here."

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