Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day Five in Twelve Days with Mary - Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho

Our Lady Hope of Africa - by Sallie Thayer


Ancient Mother,
Black Madonna,
Dark Lady of Birth, Death and Rebirth
you speak out from the heart of the world:
from the glowing windows of distant temples
as I walk through the night;
in secret caves tucked into mountainsides
whose names I cannot pronounce;
in city streets and private academies;
among the poorest of the poor
and the keepers of the jewels.
Your message is uncompromising:
Brother, stop hurting your brother.
Sisters, put down your weapons,
Neighbour, open your door to your neighbours
Wake up, stand up, wash yourselves
and look up attentively.
We must dedicate ourselves to prayer,
we must develop in us the virtues
of charity, availability and humility
Touch me, merciful Mother,
to make peace with every breath.
                          - Mirabai Starr
Statue of Our Lady of Kibeho, Mother of the Word

The Kibeho apparitions began on Nov. 28, 1981, at a time of increasing tension between the Tutsis and the Hutus. They occurred at Kibeho College, a secondary school for girls, and included an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred which many believe foretold the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The Virgin Mary appeared to the group with the name "Nyina wa Jambo" (Mother of the Word) synonymous with "Umubyeyi W'Imana" (Mother of God). The teenage visionaries reported that the Virgin Mary asked everyone to pray to prevent a terrible war. In the vision of Aug. 19, 1982, they all reported seeing violence, dismembered corpses and destruction.
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. Anathalie Mukamazimpaka's visions began in January 1982 and ended on 3 December 1983. Marie Claire Mukangango had visions for six months, lasting from 2 March 1982 until 15 September 1982. She was later killed in the massacre of 1995 at the same location.

In the 100 days that followed the April 1994 assassination of the nation's president, By most accounts, 800,000 Rwandans, by some accounts,over one million, were slaughtered by their countrymen and, in some cases, their next-door-neighbors. The violence was the culmination of intensifying animosity between the two ethnic groups – the Hutus and Tutsis – and the civil war that had preceded it. Twice, Kibeho was twice the sight of a massive massacre, first at the parish church in April 1994, and then a year later in April 1995 where more than 5,000 refugees who had taken shelter at Kibeho were shot by soldiers.

The visions may be regarded as an ominous foreshadowing of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, and particularly the 1995 Kibeho Massacre. The school where the visions occurred became a place of slaughter during the genocide as dozens of children were hacked to death by Hutu terrorists. Some of the visionaries were among the victims. - from Wikipedia

Mother and Child of Kibeho by Fr William Hart McNichols
prints of some of his amazing icons are available on FineArtAmerica

Sweet Mother of the Universe
enfold me in the circle of your unconditional love.
I am prepared to be adored, Mother
I have set down the burdens
of self-recrimination and self-righteousness
and reach freely for you now.
Lift me from the illusion
that I am in charge of the world.
Lift me from the anguish
of separation from my source.
Lift me from my isolation and weariness
I take refuge in your kiss,
the universal kiss
that transfigures the heart of humanity,
renewing and revivifying us,
so that, blessed and well-loved,
we may love and bless all that is.

                              - Mirabai Starr

Today is Day Five in the Pilgrimage of Twelve Days of Mary
hosted by Rebecca of Recuerda mi Corazon
You may wish to participate or just visit other pilgrims



  1. The Mother of Kibeho is not only stunning in her beauty, but inviting in her simplicity.

  2. Thank you for enlightening me. She is amazing and stands tall.

  3. These are powerful words. If only the world would listen. xo

  4. Such a relief to know 'we are not in charge of the world', we are charged to love one another though, this is my prayer too. x

  5. I had never heard of The Mother of Kibeho nor seen the other black madonnas you have posted here. My friend Ann Markle, an Episcopal priest in Tennessee, has a deep love for black madonnas and will one day lead tour in Europe to see them. I'm sending this link to her because I know she will be interested. My neighbor's son just returned from a work stint with the Rawandan cycling team and says the area is still very unstable. Thanks for this post--lots of new information.

  6. Thank you for sharing such a detailed account-many of these details I was not aware of, so I appreciate learning about this. How terribly sad and horrifying. I cannot even comprehend how human beings can do this to other human beings.

  7. I knew that there had been massacres in Rwanda, but not so wide-spread. It breaks my heart to learn that students were slaughtered. I can't imagine being a teacher (I'm a retired teacher.) having my sweet students killed right in front of my eyes. The only way I can comprehend this is to think that the Devil has completely taken over the bodies of those who wreak such havoc in our world.

  8. this is quite interesting and so profound; the pics are extremely lovely

    much love...

  9. I read through the post and went back,
    I needed to reread that first poem again...
    and the pictures...well,
    thank you for sharing this...fascinating and sad too. ♥ ♥ ♥

  10. i am especially moved by your first poem, mother of the wold. such profoundly fitting words posted this morning on the day when no one would have suspected Nelson Mandela would pass away.

  11. Thank you for sharing these beautiful and uplifting poems. The statue of Our Lady of Kibeho looks amazing in this sunlit landscape. I feel I'm entering a parallel universe when I visit your space. Blessings - Ruby


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