Two incredible events, one heavenly and
the other a terrible and unbelievable evil.
Many people will have heard about Rwanda in the past 20 years or so for different reasons, some will have heard about it recently when we were reminded that 10 years ago a most terrible event unfolded to the World, a fratricide, and genocide that killed some 800,000 people in Africa's most populated country, where Hutu's killed the minority Tutsi tribes and the world watched and did nothing.
Rwanda is Africa's most densely populated Country where some 8.5 million people inhabit some 26,000 square kilometres of land. Only 32% of this land is arable and which is now suffering soil exhaustion, soil erosion and overgrazing. Landlocked this country is impoverish by civil war, is now decimated by the AIDS epidemic sweeping across Africa. The average life span is now 40 years
60% of the population of this country are Catholic but many have no access to Church's or to schools because there is no transport infrastructure, in addition to that some 65% live below the poverty line.
Troubles seem to have begun back in 1959 when Rwanda gained its independence from Belgium, during this process the Hutu's killed the Tutsi King with some 150,000 Tutsi's being killed and many more going into exile, since then more trouble was brewing.
On November 28th 1981 an extraordinary heavenly event took place, Our Blessed Lady appeared in Rwanda, which has become the only country out of 56 in all of Africa to have been graced by these apparitions. Three young girls, Alphonsine Mumureke, aged 17, Nathalie Mukamazimpaka, aged 20 and Marie Claire Mukangango, the oldest was 21 years old at the time; were selected by Our Lady when she appeared at their school in Kibeho.
The apparition told them that She was the "Mother of the Word" ( Ndi Nyina Wa Jambo) and the "Mother of God"( Umubyeyl W'aiamna). Alphonsine describes Her as a very beautiful woman who had " a seamless white dress on and also a white veil on her head, Her hands were clasped together on her breast and her fingers pointed to the sky" The Lady told here that "I have come to calm you because I have heard your prayers and I would like your friends to have faith because they do not believe strongly enough"
There were many apparitions of Our Lady to these girls over a period of time, to which the Catholic Diocese of Gikongoro responded by setting up two commissions one of these theological and the other one medical. These commissions were to last until July 2nd 2001 when the Holy See approved the apparitions as authentic and published the complete account in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano (weekly edition in English 11th July 2001, page 8).
Our Lady came to warn the children that unless people turned back to God there would be terrible and very evil things that would happen in Rwanda.
The girls were shown a "river of blood, people who were killing one another, abandoned bodies with no one to bury them, a tree on fire, an open chasm, a monster, and decapitated heads hacked off" all of what they saw came true exactly 13 years later in 1994 when the Hutu population turned on the minority Tutsi and killed 800,000 men, women and children with machete's, spears, and by burning them in crowded catholic churches. Marie Claire, one of the visionaries was to die in this conflict, Alphonsine became a cloistered nun and Nathalie is staying in Rwanda to look after the shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows which was set up as early as 1982 in Kibeho where pilgrimages are encouraged by the Church.
Our Lady of Sorrows encouraged the girls to "pray, to fast and to do penance". Subsequent to this the local bishop, His Excellency Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro Diocese in Rwanda where the village of Kibeho is, said the following in 2001 "That Kibeho should 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"
The Future; what will happen now?
Given the total impoverishment of both the people and country of Kibeho it is a desire of those in Kibeho to build a "City of Mary" that would become a City of Reconciliation for the entire world, that would be a centre of pilgrimage for all of Africa and for the entire world.
Africa and indeed the World needs a City of Reconciliation, a place where man might be inspired to think on how to eliminate the huge gaps that have appeared in the world, between rich and poor, the healthy and the sick.
Many in Africa today cannot even find drinking water or antibiotics or simple medicines and die needlessly as a result. A New City in Kibeho would be the beginning of a whole new understanding for man, a hospital, school, University, transport infrastructure, social housing etc. This might give Rwanda another chance at proving that they belong to the human race, and can be part of the wider community of Africa and indeed contribute to it, but if the World continues to ignore them an even greater catastrophy lays waiting like a monster on the horizon. Will you help?
Note on the author
Anthony Thomas has been involved in the concepts of new cities for some years now and is involved in the Balkans, Ireland, Africa, and the Holy Land with concepts of New Cities see www.newcityforthewest.com
The New City for Rwanda, that is the City of Mary, will be built by private donations, and Anthony has been asked by the superiors of the shrine to publish this article worldwide in the hope of a response. All donations, which will be acknowledged, should be sent to Mr. Anthony Thomas, Strongfort, Craughwell, County Galway, Ireland. Prayers requests will be forwarded to the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho immediately upon receipt of such requests, which can be sent by e-mail to [email protected]