Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Lady of Kibeho

Did you know that yesterday was the feast day for Our Lady of Kibeho?  Last year I had the opportunity to hear Immaculee Ilibagiza speak at Sacred Heart University.  Catchechists from all over Connecticut as well as Sisters, Nuns, Priests and people who knew her story filled the packed auditorium.  We listened to her harrowing tale of hiding in a bathroom with six women for ninety days while outside a massacre took place, a massacre that killed almost her entire family.  

As she sat huddled together in fear and in hiding she prayed.  She repeated the Our Father over and over again.  But when it came to the words, “as we forgive those who trespass against us” she found she could not say them.  She could not forgive what was happening in her own land by her countrymen.  That is, until she had an epiphany.  She realized that she cannot rewrite the words of God.  To say them is to believe them.  She found forgiveness.  She forgave those who trespassed against her.
But this is not why we celebrated the feast Sunday night.  Years before Immaculee hid in that bathroom, there was an apparition by the Holy Mother who spoke to several girls, in the town of Kibeho, Rwanda.  She foretold of the coming events and urged prayer, specifically the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows.  The church has investigated these appearances and has validated them.  They are as credible as the more well known appearances at Lourdes and Fatima.  
Immaculee came again to Connecticut this fall.  While I was not able to attend, members of our church did.  She urged us to bring the story of Rwanda and of the Lady of Kibeho back.  The message of repentance, forgiveness and prayer was not meant for those in Rwanda alone.  
Sunday night, we celebrated the feast.  Grace and I read two of the sorrows to a crowded congregation.  Her good friend helped by lighting the candles after each prayer was said.  It was a beautiful night.  It was a perfect ending to the holiday weekend and a perfect beginning to the season of Advent.

If you would like more information on Immaculee and her story, here are some links:

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