The Three Young Girls Who Got a Vision of Virgin Mary about The Rwanda Genocide

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Most Catholics are familiar with the Marian apparition sites in France, Portugal, and Mexico. Yet, many are unaware of the Marian apparitions that took place in Kibeho, Rwanda, between 1981 and 1989 to three children. Recognized by the Vatican in 2001, Our Lady of Kibeho is the only Marian apparition site approved by the Catholic Church on the African continent.

On November 28, 1981, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared many times to three schoolgirls from a small town called Kibeho in the southern part of Rwanda, in the administrative district of Nyaruguru.

Alphonsine
Alphonsine narrating her vision

The three schoolgirls went to Kibeho High School, and they were Alphonsine, Anathalie, and Marie Claire. Blessed Mary appeared first to Alphonsine on November 28, 1981. But no one believed she had really seen and spoken to Blessed Mary.

Alphonsine saw a lady of incomparable beauty who presented herself under the name “Nyina Wa Jambo,” which means “Mother of the Word.” Alphonsine immediately recognized her as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior Jesus. The phenomenon occurred subsequently and several times in succession, at long or short intervals. The Virgin asked everybody to convert, to keep faith, and to pray without hypocrisy.

Marie Claire Mukangango, a classmate who had come to the conclusion that Alphonsine had been in possession of demons and a witch, bullied and ridiculed her mercilessly at school.

Alphonsine begged Our Mother blessed Mary to appear to another girl in the school so that she could also bear witness and corroborate her visions to the doubting school and community members.

A short time later, two new alleged seers appeared in the high school, one after the other and in close proximity to Alphonsine: notably Anathalie Mukamazimpaka on January 12, 1982, and Marie Claire Mukangango on March 2, 1982.

The second girl was Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, and slowly, more people began to believe. Finally, in the strangest twist of all, she appeared to Marie Claire herself.

Marie Claire was one of the people who strongly dismissed the visions, on many occasions calling Alphonsine a witch. With her starting to get the visions, the school and community started believing, and many times they even used to pierce them with sharp metals when talking to Blessed Mary, but the young ladies couldn’t respond with any stimulus.

Another fact to be emphasized is that on the days of public apparitions, the seers experienced practically no ecstasies. The seers experienced the apparitions individually, one at a time, while the other seers were watching along with everyone else in the crowd. These apparitions varied in duration depending on the occurrence, and they were usually marked by heavy rainfall at the end of the apparition.

The apparitions of Kibeho officially ended on November 28, 1989, a date on which Alphonsine, who was at the beginning of these events, experienced the Virgin’s last apparition in public. She specified that she would not have any more apparitions publicly.

This meaningful fact, which was introduced eight years after the Virgin’s first apparition at Kibeho, is recognized as an important historical reference for anybody who would like to know what happened and form a judgment on it. This date, November 28, 1989, is kept by the ecclesiastical authority as the time limit for the occurrence of these phenomena.

Visions about the 1994 genocide

“But blessed Mary also showed the three girls horrific visions of what would happen if the people did not repent. On August 19, 1982, all three saw dreadful visions of death, violence, blood, fire, and destruction. They saw rivers of blood, piles of severed human heads, and people chopping and hacking at each other,” said Sister Ann Mary, who has visited the site every year for special prayers.

In 1994, the visions the three schoolgirls saw came true during the Rwandan Genocide. Up to a million Rwandans perished over the course of three months at the hands of their neighbors, friends, and even family members. Most of those killed were Tutsis, who were a minority in Rwanda but had been privileged under the previous Belgian colonial rule of Rwanda. But people from both groups, Tutsi and Hutu, were killed. The rivers did run with blood, bodies were chopped to pieces, and corpses lay rotting on the ground with no one to bury them.

Kibeho itself was not spared. It was the site of a massacre where about 5,000 refugees were killed, some in the very church built to honor Our Lady of Kibeho. Among those killed at Kibeho was Marie Claire Mukangango, one of the ladies who had seen Blessed Mary during the apparitions’ time.

Today, Kibeho has been restored. But bones still lie in the soil where the flowers grow.

“The shrine at Kibeho is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows. God willing, it will be a place of repentance, of peace, and of healing for Rwanda and for all people,” Father Anatolia said.

“Many people still come here for special forgiveness prayers at the shrine in Kibeho,” says Alphonsine Mumureke, one of the Kibeho schoolgirls who still lives in Kibeho today.

Out of the three girls of 1981, Alphonsine and Nathalie Mukamazimpaka are still alive; sadly, Maria Clara passed away during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

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