The “Michael” Journal first reported on the Apparitions of Our Lady in Kibeho, in Rwanda, Africa, in our January-February, 1988 issue. The first appearance of the Mother of the Word was in November, 1981, and continued until 1989. Given today’s situation, with major genocides occurring in many countries, we find it important to reproduce these messages again, since it was in Kibeho that Our Lady made the predictions about the genocide that would take place –
The seers 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 about a decade later, in the spring of 1994, a horrifying civil war erupted in Rwanda, and, in just three months, an estimated one million people were killed, many beheaded by machetes and dumped into the Kagea River.
Vandalism was rampant all over the country from 1980 to 1981. Almost all of the statues of the Virgin Mary that were at the entrance of villages were mutilated, destroyed, or stolen. This was a sad time when Mary was almost forgotten, and barely prayed to. Even several priests did not pray the Rosary anymore, influenced by the propaganda of false theologians who would like to make us believe that this devotion was out of date. Catholics were humiliated; the clergy were beginning to give up.
It is in this time of discouragement that Mary chose to visit Rwanda. From 1981 to 1989, this country heard of the Virgin Mary as never before.
The all-girl boarding school of Kibeho is located in the south of the country, the poorest area of Rwanda. 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 far from being 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. She was the first to receive a visit from the Mother of God, she relates,
“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 the Their Son, 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 really 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 color of Her skin, but She was of incomparable beauty. She was barefoot and had a seamless white dress, and also a white veil on Her head. 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, the seer remained motionless for a quarter of an hour, as if she was paralyzed, and all the efforts to get her out of ecstasy were in vain. Neither the teachers nor the nuns gave credence to what Alphonsine said. They rather spoke of illness instead of apparitions.
The phenomenon took place again the next day, on November 29. In December, the Apparitions took place almost every Saturday. Excited by their curiosity, the students and the teachers tested the reality of the ecstasies. They burned Alphonsine with a match, or pricked her with a pin, but the seer had no reactions.
Alphonsine suffered a lot during this period of subtle persecution. They mocked her: “Here comes the seer!” During the May 8, 1982 apparition, Alphonsine complained to the Virgin Mary: “People say that we are crazy.” This day, Alphonsine’s mother was present for the first time.
Many signs were given by Heaven to bring the students and the teachers to believe in the authenticity of the apparitions.
Those students who had rosaries, brought them to have them blessed by the Blessed Virgin. Alphonsine took the rosaries and offered them to the Blessed Virgin. Some rosaries became too heavy, and the seer could not lift them to ask for the blessing. It was noticed that the heavy Rosaries in question belonged to students who did not believe in the authenticity of the apparitions, and who 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 seer spoke about it to the director of the school. The next meetings took place outdoors, in the schoolyard. Some apparitions continued to take place in the dormitory.
Mary progressively made Herself known to the students, and won them over. She gave advice, encouraged, and counselled them to bring them onto the right path. She was truly the Mother who, in Her motherly love, educated Her children. Our Lady really became the Queen of this school. She should be the Queen of all schools!
Because of the strong opposition that the first apparitions had 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 girl, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, and continued to come to her until December 3, 1983.
On March 2, 1982, to the surprise of all, Our Lady appeared to Marie Claire Mukangango. It was like a bomb in the school, for Marie Claire was one of those who had showed her unbelief the most. Her Christian life was nothing special, and was even far from being exemplary! She had called Alphonsine “a fool”. And now it was her turn to be seized by this mysterious power; the Virgin Mary chose Marie Claire to spread Her message. From that day forward, Marie Claire would continue saying: “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 Our Lady until September 15, 1982.
In January and February, 1982, diabolical phenomena took place in the dormitory. To cast off these unknown forces, the nuns used Lourdes’ holy water. This had a soothing effect, but soon there was no more water left. Anathalie was asked to have some water blessed by the Virgin Mary during the apparitions. This was on March 2, 1982. Thus started, at Kibeho, the habit of having water blessed by the Virgin Mary before the apparition.
Very soon, the crowds became very large, especially in May, 1982, the month dedicated to Mary. A podium was installed to allow journalists and the members of the medical and theological commission to circulate freely. Also, large speakers were set up so that the population would be able to hear the dialogue of the seers with Our Lady. On August 15, 1982, there were 20,000 people.
Towards the end of an apparition, the Blessed Virgin would ask the seers to bless the crowd. The seers were in ecstasy; they did not see the crowd, they only saw a large 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 the 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, the medical assistant of the Red Cross, all of them could see Alphonsine plunged into a deep sleep, her body straight and very heavy. They could not lift her nor separate her hands, which were joined. During this journey the Blessed Virgin showed her Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell.
Another impressive phenomenon that took place in Kibeho were the fasts and the silences requested by Jesus or Mary. This was also checked by the commission of inquiry. These fasts could last up to fourteen days, without harming the health of the seers.
During one apparition, Alphonsine was cured of a severe quinsy which had caused loss of voice, and also of an eye disease. During the Apparition on October 2, she fell seven times, but even when she lay on the ground, she continued to pray and to sing. She asked for the grace to detest sin and the strength not to be carried away by the desires of the flesh. She 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 Bishops of Rwanda, the heads of States, 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 of the Blessed Virgin followed Her request to build two sanctuaries on the site of the apparitions. Anathalie had told the authorities, but nothing had been done yet. However, the local Bishop and the parish priest were already convinced about the reality of the apparitions, but they had to go through the usual 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 recommends to us to say the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows to obtain the contrition of 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 we can, but especially on the following days: Friday, the day that r calls the crucifixion of Jesus; Tuesday, in memory of the first Apparition to Marie Claire; on September 14, the feast of the Holy Cross; and on September 15, the feast of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.
Here are excerpts from a Message of our Heavenly Mother to the seer Alphonsine during Her last Apparition on November 28, 1989. It was published in the May-June, 1990 issue of “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.”
The 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; luminous crosses in the sky...The greatest miracle in Kibeho though, was this wave of conversions and prayers that resulted from these apparitions.
These Apparitions were officially recognized by the Church in July, 2001. The local Bishop, Augustin Misago of Gikongoro had declared that, “Yes, the Virgin Mary had 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.” v