Friday, 11 March 2011

Our Lady of Kibeho

My Drawing of Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda

After hearing the well-known survivor of the Rwandan Genocide, Immaculee Ilibagiza, mention Our Lady of Kibeho on several occasions, I was determined to find out more.  There was some information on the Internet, but I was finally able to purchase a copy of Ilibagiza's own book, entitled simply "Our Lady of Kibeho".  If you want to find out more about these amazing appearances of Our Lady in recent times, I would definitely recommend that you read this book.

Now let me give you a quick overview of what happened in a little place in Rwanda called Kibeho starting back in the early 1980's (much of the following is taken from Wikipedia with some editing.

"Our Lady of Kibeho is a title of Marian apparitions which appeared to several young people, in the 1980s in Kibeho, in south-western Rwanda. The apparitions communicated various messages to the schoolchildren, including an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred, foretelling the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.  In 2001, the Catholic Church officially recognized the visions of three schoolchildren as authentic.

On August 19, 1982, an exceptionally long vision lasting eight hours was the most dramatic. The teenagers, six girls and one boy, who saw the visions reported gruesome sights such as rivers of blood and people killing each other. The visions were accompanied by intense reactions: crying, tremors, and comas. The teenagers stated that the Virgin Mary asked everyone to pray to prevent a terrible war.

The apparitions began in November 1981, in Kibeho College, but only the visions of the first three (Alphonsine, Nathalie, and Marie Claire aged 17, 20 and 21) received local Bishop Augustin Misago's solemn approval. The Virgin Mary appeared to the girls with the name 'Nyina wa Jambo' (Mother of the Word) synonymous with 'Umubyeyi W'Imana' (Mother of God).

The longest series of visions were attributed to Alphonsine Mumureke who received the first vision on November 28, 1981 and the last on November 28, 1989. Nathalie Mukamazimpaka's visions began in January 1982 and ended on Dec. 3, 1983. Marie Claire Mukangango had visions for six months, lasting from March 2, 1982 until September 15, 1982. She was later killed in the massacre at the same location in 1995.

Many today regard the visions as an ominous foreshadowing of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, and particularly in that specific location in 1995, where some of those who had seen the vision died.  The school where the visions occurred became a place of slaughter during the genocide as dozens of children were hacked to death by Hutu militia fighters. Some of the visionaries among the victims.

The Marian sanctuary at Kibeho was named "Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows" in 1992, an anticipatory name in the light of the genocide that followed two years later in 1994. The first stone was laid on 28 November 1992."

Below there is a poorly photographed copy of a poster illustrating the appearances at Kibeho where a shrine church now exists.  Kibeho is now a place of pilgrimage -- not only for Africans, but for Catholics and others --both Christians and non-Christians -- from all over the world.  There is now a large retreat centre in Kibeho as well.

Mother of the Word (Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda)

You can see in the above poster the typical image of Our Lady of Kibeho.  This image was drawn by an African artist after hearing the young visionaries describe how Our Lady appeared.  As with all such appearances, the girls said that the drawing did not even begin to capture the loveliness of the lady in their visions.  My drawing, on the other hand, is the result of looking at the approved image and combining it with my own idea of how Our Lady looked after reading the descriptions that the young woman have given.  My image, therefore, is truly my own inspiration. 

As well, I added a few elements that are in keeping with a traditional icon even though there was no mention of such things in the visionaries' descriptions.  An example of what I am talking about would be the three stars -- one on Our Lady's head and one on each shoulder.  These traditionally are used in icons to indicate the perpetual virginity of Our Lady.

One of the Messages given to the young visionaries, Rwanda
Above is a photo of a plaque showing one of the many statements made by Our Lady of Kibeho to the young women.  I find this statement particularly appealing. 

Now, transitioning from the sublime to the simply delightful, here are my "cutesy" photos for this posting!  Today's offerings are all about proper introductions!

"I mean, we haven't even been properly introduced!"
I smile every time I look at this photo.  The cat is being an ordinary cat while the dog appears to be completely uncomfortable with all the rubbing, combined with purring noises, he is getting from this creature.  I am sure the dog would be much more comfortable with the situation had there been proper introductions at the beginning -- along with a bit of time to get acquainted -- before all this rubbing and cuddling started!

"Maybe if I offer to shake paws, we can become friends very quickly!"

This poor, little mouse, I felt, might be hoping that proper introductions would change the situation from one of apparently grave danger to one of polite friendship.  I doubt very much that this will be the outcome unless what we are actually looking at is a photo of two animals who are, in fact, already friends.  I do sincerely hope this is the case.  I hate to think of the outcome otherwise!

"Have we met before?"
Sniffing of noses would indicate to me that these two are already acquainted.  Otherwise, I would expect to see the cat running under the house or the Moose jumping back in alarm.  However, I like to imagine that they are already buddies who often meet outside during the wintertime.  As we all know, different species often become best friends -- to our amazement.

"I guess introductions aren't necessary!"
Finally, there is this capture I made off a You Tube video.  I was delighted by the expression on the baby's face.  Such a happy look of pleasure at this wonderful experience of soft fur rubbing against a soft baby cheek.  I am sure the baby was delighted by the purring sounds that accompanied the rubbing.  Such a lovely expression of the delight of discovery and the innocence of childhood.

This next photo is one I added just because I find it to be an excellently executed photo showing all the delightful pleasure of being a kitten.  At least, that is how I experience this photo.  I wish I knew who the photographer was so that I could see what his or her other work looks like.

"I am so adorable, don't you agree?"

After all these photos of cats, I will only briefly mention that Suki is doing fine. 

I, on the other hand, am not doing as well as usual.  I seem to have picked up some sort of little bug that has me sniffing and coughing a bit.  Hopefully, this little bug will decide to move on very quickly since I am using all my usual remedies which have always worked in the past.  But for now, sadly, I keep going sniff, sniff, cough, sniff, sniff...

May the peace of God be with us all.

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