Many of you have heard of Lourdes and Fatima,… These are places of Marian Apparitions. Mary, the Mother of Christ, is believed to have appeared to people in these places. In each situation, the Catholic Church had to investigate and substantiate the claims of the visionaries. In all of Africa, there is one place where the Catholic Church has documented apparitions of Mary – here in Rwanda. Today, we visited (made a pilgrimage) to the shrine of our Lady of Kibeho. Three young women experienced these apparitions in the 1980s. In these apparitions, Mary is said to have encouraged the people…and wept for what she saw. Many see this as a prophecy of the genocide that followed in the subsequent decade. Whether one believes or not, the Catholic Church is important in Rwanda and this is a site of international pilgrimage. Father Mark and a sister spoke to us for a brief time in the priest’s office. Fr. Mark noted that, in 1994, many people were killed in the neighboring parish.
The ride to the shrine in Kibeho was a bumpy one – dirt road for over an hour each way.
In the afternoon, we returned to the National Museum of Butare to witness a group of African dancers (they dance through Rwanda and have been to France). When they finished, they came to each us to come down and dance as well.
Tomorrow, we visit professors and students at the National University of Rwanda.