By Roy Abraham Varghese. Roy Varghese is a prolific author in the areas of religion, science and Mariology.
The Marian apparitions of Kibeho in Rwanda, perhaps the poorest country in Africa (one known also as the “Switzerland of Africa” for its many mountains), were witnessed by seven principal visionaries. The apparitions share many common features with the great apocalyptic visions of the past. As in the nineteenth-century French apparitions and at Fatima and Akita, the Virgin announced impending bloodshed on a horrific scale. Moreover, as in Medjugorje, the apparitions themselves took place in the very region that would shortly become synonymous around the world with genocide and systematic butchery. The warnings issued at Rwanda were not only prophetic but unmistakably accurate and, because they were not heeded, the fate of the nation seemed sealed; the Virgin finally even urged the visionaries to flee their homeland before the onset of the wars ahead.
The apparitions began on November 28, 1981, when Alphonsine Mumureke, a sixteen-year-old student in a Catholic convent, heard a voice calling out “my daughter” to her as she was helping in the dining room. She left the room and saw a beautiful lady in white in the corridor. When Alphonsine asked her who she was, the lady replied, “I am the Mother of the Word,” speaking in Kinyarwanda, the language of the Rwandans. The Virgin asked her which of the religions she liked, to which Alphonsine replied, “I love God and His Mother who have given us Their Son who has saved us.” The Virgin commended her and said that she wished that some of her friends would have more faith since some did not believe enough. She then asked Alphonsine to join a lay evangelization group called the Legion of Mary and said that she wanted to be loved and trusted as a Mother so that she could lead people to her Son Jesus (the Legion of Mary is one of the largest lay Christian organizations in the world; one of the pioneers of the Legion from Ireland, Edel Quinn, had devoted her life to the work of the Legion in the neighboring country of Kenya). The Virgin then gracefully arose until she was out of sight. As she departed, Alphonsine dropped to the ground and was unconscious for about fifteen minutes.
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