MICHAEL first reported on the apparitions of Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda in our January/February, 1988 edition and then again in August/September, 2014. The Mother of the Word, as she is known, first appeared to the visionaries in November, 1981 through 1989. Given today’s situation in the world, and that genocide still occurs, we are reproducing Our Lady’s messages.
The visionaries saw “a river of blood, people who were killing each other, abandoned corpses with no one to bury them, a tree all in flames, bodies without their heads”. This prophecy seemed, at first, incredible but in the spring of 1994, a horrifying civil war erupted in Rwanda, and, in just three months, an estimated 1 million people were killed, many beheaded by machetes and dumped into the Kagera River.
The warnings of the Blessed Virgin Mary were not just for Africa. “When I tell you this, I am not addressing myself strictly to you, child, but I am making this appeal to the world,” Mary told Marie-Clare Mukangango, who was later killed in the 1994 massacre. She said the Virgin described the world in revolt against God, the world “is on the edge of catastrophe”. – AMJ
Vandalism was rampant in the country from 1980 to 1981. Almost all of the statues of the Blessed Mother positioned at the entrances of villages were mutilated, destroyed, or stolen. This was a sad time when Mary was almost forgotten, and barely turned to in prayer. Even some priests no longer prayed the Rosary. Both lay Catholics and the clergy were discouraged.
It was at this time of discouragement that Mary chose to visit Rwanda. From 1981 to 1989 the country was re-awakened by Our Blessed Mother.
The girls’ boarding school in Kibeho is located in the south of Rwanda in the country’s poorest region. At the start of the new school year in 1981, there were 120 students, divided into three classes. Three nuns directed the school. The majority of the students were Catholic, but there were also 17 Protestants and 2 Moslems. Morals were not exemplary.
Alphonsine Mumreke was 17 years old and in her first year at the secondary school. She was very pious, loved to attend Holy Mass and had always shown a great love for the Blessed Virgin Mother. She was the first to receive a visit from the Mother of God.
“It took place on Saturday, November 28, 1981, at 12:35 p.m. I was in the dining room of the school, serving my classmates. All of a sudden, I heard a voice calling me.” Mary: “My daughter.” Alphonsine: “Here I am.”
“I went to the corridor, and saw a very beautiful woman. I knelt down, made the Sign of the Cross, and asked: ‘Who are you?’”
Mary: “Ndi Nyina Wa Jambo (in the local language, ‘I am the Mother of the Word’). Of the things of Heaven, what makes you happy?”
Alphonsine: “I love God and His Mother who gave us Jesus who redeemed us.”
Mary: “If it is true that you are happy, then know that I have heard your prayers and I am here to console you. I would like your friends to have your faith, because they do not believe strongly enough.”
Alphonsine: “Mother of the Saviour, if it is really you, and you have come here to tell us to have more faith, then you must truly love us! I am filled with joy that you appear to me.”
Alphonsine relates: “The Virgin was not white as she is usually seen in holy pictures. I could not determine the colour of her skin, but she was of incomparable beauty. She was barefoot and had a seamless white dress and wore a white veil. Her hands were clasped together on her breast, and her fingers pointed to the sky. Later, I was told that I was in the dining room. My classmates told me that I was speaking in several languages: French, English, Kinyarwanda, etc.
“When the Blessed Virgin was about to leave, I said three ‘Hail Marys’ and the prayer, ‘Come, Holy Spirit’. When she left, I saw her rise to heaven like Jesus.”
At the end of the apparition, Alphonsine remained motionless for a quarter of an hour, as if paralyzed, and all efforts to restore her from her state of ecstasy were in vain. Neither the teachers nor the nuns gave credence to what Alphonsine said however; they spoke of illness and not apparitions.
The same phenomenon took place the next day, on November 29. In December, the apparitions took place almost every Saturday. Excited and curious, the students and teachers tested the reality of the ecstasies. They burned Alphonsine with a match and pricked her with a pin. The visionary did not react physically to these provocations.
Alphonsine suffered during this period. She was mocked and endured some persecution. “Here comes the seer!” During the May 8, 1982 apparition, Alphonsine complained to the Virgin Mother: “People say that we are crazy.”
Many signs from heaven were offered to enable both students and teachers to believe in the authenticity of the apparitions.
Those students who had rosaries brought them to Alphonsine for Our Holy Mother to bless. Some rosaries became too heavy, and Alphonsine could not lift them to seek a blessing. It is worth noting that the heavy Rosaries belonged to students who did not believe in the authenticity of the apparitions and criticized them.
In Rwanda, news spreads quickly. People came in haste to be present at the time of the apparitions. Upon the request of the Bishop, the visionary spoke about it to the school’s director. The next meetings took place outdoors, in the schoolyard but some apparitions also occurred in the dormitory.
Mary progressively made herself known to the students and won them over. She gave advice, encouraged, and counselled the girls to bring them onto the right path. In her motherly love she educated her children. Our Lady really became the Queen of the school. Rightly, she should be the Queen of all schools!
Because of the strong opposition with which the first apparitions were received some teachers and students said:
“We will believe that the Mother of God is coming to our school only if she appears to others besides Alphonsine.”
The seer replied to them: “Then pray to obtain this favour.”
On January 12, 1982, Our Lady answered the prayers of these students. She began appearing to a young student, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, and continued until December 3, 1983.
On March 2, 1982, Our Lady also appeared to Marie-Claire Mukangango. It was like a bomb had exploded as Marie-Claire was one of those who had most shown a lack of faith in Mary’s appearances. Her Christian life was nothing special, and was even far from exemplary! She had called Alphonsine “a fool”. And now it was her turn to be seized by this mysterious power. From that day forward, Marie-Claire would say:
“One must meditate on the Passion of Jesus, and on the deep sorrows of His Mother. One must recite the Rosary every day, and also the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, to obtain the favour of repentance.”
Marie-Claire continued to see apparitions of Our Lady until September 15, 1982.
In January and February, 1982, diabolical phenomena took place in the dormitory. To cast off these forces the nuns used holy water obtained from Lourdes. This had a soothing effect, but soon the holy water was all used. Anathalie was asked to have some water blessed by the Virgin Mary during the apparitions. This was on March 2, 1982. Thus started the habit of having water blessed by the Virgin Mother before an apparition.
Very soon, the crowds became very large, especially in 1982, in May, the month dedicated to Mary. A podium was installed to allow journalists, members of the medical professions and theologians to circulate freely. Also, large speakers were set up so that the population could listen to Our Lady’s messages. On August 15, 1982, 20,000 people attended.
Near the end of an apparition, the Blessed Mother would ask the seers to bless the crowd. The seers were in ecstasy and saw only a garden of flowers, some fresh and others faded. Our Lady asked the seers to water the flowers, and she explained to them that the fresh flowers represented people whose hearts were turned to God, whereas the faded flowers represented those whose hearts were turned to earthly things, especially to money.
There were also mystical journeys. Alphonsine experienced this phenomenon on March 20 and 21, 1982. She informed the Sister directress and her classmates in advance:
“I will look dead, but don’t be afraid; don’t bury me!”
The journey lasted eighteen hours. Priests, nurses, religious and the medical assistant of the Red Cross could see Alphonsine plunged into a deep sleep, her body straight and very heavy. They could not lift her nor separate her joined hands. During this journey, the Blessed Virgin showed her heaven, purgatory and hell.
Another phenomenon that occurred in Kibeho were the fasts and silences requested by Jesus or Mary. This was also verified by a commission of inquiry. These fasts could last up to fourteen days without any harm to the health of the seers.
During one apparition, Alphonsine was cured of a severe quinsy which had caused loss of her voice, and also of an eye disease. During the apparition on October 2nd, she fell seven times, but even when she lay on the ground, she continued to pray and sing. She asked for the grace to detest sin and the strength not to be carried away by the desires of the flesh and sang: “Queen of Heaven and Earth.” Then, as an invocation, she repeated: “Let us help Him to save the world...” In her prayers, Alphonsine often asked for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life. She did not forget the youth. She prayed for peace because, she said, “there are dissensions, troubles and hatred all over the world.” Finally, she prayed for the Bishops of Rwanda, government leaders and for the whole world.
On August 5, 1982, the Virgin Mary said to Anathalie:
“I speak to you, but you do not hear me. I want to lift you, but you remain down. I call you, but you turn a deaf ear. When will you do what I ask of you? You remain indifferent to all my appeals. When will you understand? When will you take interest in what I want to say to you? I give you signs, but you remain incredulous. How long will you turn a dead ear to my appeals?”
This lengthy complaint followed the Blessed Mother’s request to build two sanctuaries on the site of the apparitions. Anathalie told the authorities, but nothing was done. However, the local Bishop and parish priest, convinced that the apparitions were authentic, undertook the necessary inquiries.
The following is the dialogue that took place between Marie-Claire and Our Lady on April 2, 1982:
Mary: “Do repent! Do repent! Do repent!”
Marie-Claire: “But I do!”
Mary: “When I tell you this, I do not speak to you alone, but I speak also to all the others. Men of our times have emptied each thing of its true meaning: he who commits a fault does not recognize that he has done wrong.”
Marie-Claire: “We are weak, without strength. Give us the strength to recognize our faults and to ask forgiveness for them.”
Our Lady recommended we pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows in order to have contrition for our sins.
On May 31, 1982, Our Lady said to Marie-Claire:
“What I ask of you is repentance. If you recite this chaplet, while meditating on it, you will then have the strength to repent. Today, many people do not know any more how to ask forgiveness. They nail the Son of God to the cross again. Because of this, I want to come and remind you, especially here in Rwanda where I still find humble people, who are not attached to wealth nor money”.
Our Lady asked us to recite this chaplet every day if possible but especially on the following days: Friday, the day that recalls the crucifixion of Jesus; Tuesday, in memory of the first apparition to Marie-Claire; September 14th, the Feast of the Holy Cross and on September 15th, the Feast of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.
Here are excerpts from a message from Our Heavenly Mother to Alphonsine during her last apparition on November 28, 1989. It was published in the May/June 1990 MICHAEL.
“I speak to you, who hold power, and who represent the nation: save the people, instead of being their torturers. Do not rob the people; share with others. Be careful not to persecute, to muzzle those who want to denounce your errors. I say to you, I repeat it, whatever you do, even though you try everything to harm somebody because he loves his fellow men, defends human rights, fights for the respect of the life of others, and for the truth and all that is good, and even because he fights so that God may be loved and respected, whatever you do, you can do nothing against him.”
The Virgin also said to Alphonsine: “I love you very much. If I came, it is because you needed it.”
Pilgrims in Kibeho witnessed several extraordinary phenomena: the sun dancing for ten minutes from left to right and up and down; the disappearance of the sun, replaced by a greenish moon; the stars dancing and luminous crosses in the sky. The greatest miracle in Kibeho though, was a wave of conversions and prayers that resulted from Mary’s appearances.
The apparitions were officially recognized by the Church in July, 2001. The local Bishop, Augustin Misago of Gikongoro, said
“Yes, the Virgin Mary appeared at Kibeho on November 28, 1981 and in the months that followed. There are more reasons to believe in the apparitions than to deny them...”
The apparitions of Kibeho are now officially recognized... The name given to the Marian sanctuary at Kibeho is “Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows”.
“That Kibeho become a place of pilgrimage and of encounter for all who seek Christ and who come there to pray, a fundamental centre of conversion, of reparation for the sins of the world and of reconciliation, a point of meeting for all who were dispersed, as for those who aspire to the values of compassion and fraternity without borders, a fundamental centre that recalls the Gospel of the Cross.”
All photos - www.kibeho-sanctuary.com