For eight days my husband Craig and I traveled hundreds of miles with Fr. Ubald, over bumpy paths and winding roads. Despite its grim history, Rwanda is a beautiful place. Homes with miniature goats hug the roads, as banana groves and other crops line the mountainside above and the valleys below. On each side of the roads, the bright, resplendent textiles of the women’s dresses caught my eye as we drove past. And yet the large plastic jerry cans, carried by so many people, reminded us that few of these places have running water or indoor plumbing. While rich in natural beauty, Rwanda is also a place where many live in great poverty. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the Blessed Mother choose to come here in the 1980s, to remind her poor little ones that they had not been forgotten.
We had just left the National Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho, and heard the story of the three school girl visionaries — Alphonsine, Marie-Claire, and Anathalie — who had been visited by Our Lady between 1981 and 1987, warning that Rwanda would become a “river of blood” if hatred was not quelled by love. (For more information about the appearances and visionaries, pick up a copy of Immaculée Ilibagiza’s Our Lady of Kibeho: Mary Speaks to the World from the Heart of Africa.) Two of the three visionaries were still living: Alphonsine was a religious sister there at the shrine. Natalie was a nun in Italy. Marie-Claire and her husband had been killed in the genocide.
Not far from the National Shrine, Father Ubald is overseeing another important pilgrimage site, the Chapel of God the Father. He had hoped to open it in time for the 25th anniversary of the genocide this spring, and is trusting God to provide the additional funds — $100,000 is needed to complete construction and to build the roads, toilets, and other infrastructure the government requires for it to be open to the public. (Please pray with us, that God would provide the resources needed, and ask the Lord if you might be able to help by making a donation here.)
Next week I will give you an example of the healings that are taking place at Kibeho and in other places where Fr. Ubald is preaching and evangelizing about the power of forgiveness and mercy to bring healing and peace to those traumatized by violence. (Thank you to Katsey Long for providing these photographs, which were taken during the shooting of the documentary.)
Heidi Hess Saxton is Father Ubald’s editor at Ave Maria Press. His book, Forgiveness Makes You Free will be released in April 2019. You can read more of Heidi’s writing on her blog “Life on the Road Less Traveled.” If you are enjoying this blog series and would like to help Fr. Ubald, please make a tax-deductible donation to the Center for the Secret of Peace by clicking here.