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REMARKABLE BOOK RECOUNTS APPROVED APPARITION THAT CLAIMED COMING OF JESUS
By Michael H. Brown
What is being spoken to us? What is occurring in the dimension of the Spirit?
Just three weeks ago, it was a book on the afterlife and apocalyptic events that, as it turns out, had the endorsement of Thérèse the Little Flower.
That was an old book translated into English for the first time. Now, on our doorstep, is a new book that at turns is also apocalyptic and of equal repute called Our Lady of Kibeho -- perhaps the best-written book in recent times on a single apparition -- one that has full Church approbation.
It is an apparition that has been known for years but is revealed in full context with far more details in this work -- details that at times rise to the level of astonishment.
I didn't know, for example, that the Blessed Mother appeared in the night sky before thousands in the way of a huge silhouette formed with unusually bright, strangely arrayed stars. I knew the sun spun as at Fatima, but I didn't realize that it also turned into a reflecting glass -- showing a mirror-like image of the landscape (as again thousands watched). I didn't know that several of the seers went into comas so deep during visits with the Blessed Mother to the afterlife that doctors and experts from a bishop's commission (who were there as eyewitnesses) were ready to declare them dead.
I did know that this set of phenomena in Kibeho, which is located in Rwanda (in deepest Africa), was the first major approval of an apparition in years and the one with the strongest Church sanction since Fatima (announced by the Vatican itself in June of 2001 after twenty years of Church investigation).
The details are mesmerizing -- written by a bestselling author, Immaculée Ilibagiza, who lived nearby and eventually witnessed the seers in action as well as some of the reputed miracles. It was an unusual apparition in the way the seers dropped like dead weight to the ground during their visions, or gleefully held rosaries up to the Virgin. Much of the early phenomena hovered around a Catholic school girl named Alphonsine Mumureke, the first to see the Virgin (on November 28, 1981) and mightily persecuted for what she was witnessing.
"In an effort to silence Alphonsine, one of the priests even gave [a girl named Marie-Claire] the go-ahead to torment the visionary further," writes Ilibagiza. "The older girl almost gleefully helped organize groups of students to physically abuse Alphonsine during her apparitions: they pulled her hair, twisted her fingers, pinched her skin as hard as they could, screamed into her ears, and shone a powerful flashlight into her open eyes.
"Alphonsine never blinked, winced, or flinched, no matter what they did. When she was in ecstasy, she was impervious to pain and unaware of her physical environment."
Alphonsine did not even respond when a needle was jammed beneath her fingernails nor as a burning candle was held under her right arm. When the Blessed Mother told her they were burning her, so divorced from reality was Alphonsine that she moved the wrong arm -- her left one. When those who taunted her threw rosaries (trying to get them around her neck, as at a carnival), Alphonsine instinctively picked up the ones thrown by sincere believers and offered them to the Blessed Mother. Those thrown as a game were left on the ground, feeling as if they were anchored down.
Eventually there were seven seers (the Church approved only three), and they were likewise divorced from reality because what they saw was beyond both beauty and amazement, as if the sky -- as if Heaven -- "opened up" for them.
One of those who would become a seer: Alphonsine's tormentor, Marie-Claire Mukangango.
The Blessed Mother came "bathed in white." Her skin shone like polished ivory but wasn't white as in pictures. She wasn't black either. It was a color, a tint, a texture that could not be put into words. Her attire that seemed "seemless," as if "made by angels."
"All I can say about her appearance," said Alphonsine, "is that she is more beautiful than anyone or anything on the planet.
"She loves us -- that's what I feel the most when she's with me," shared this visionary, who later became a cloistered nun. "Her love is so powerful that it could lift you up and carry you to Heaven. When I see her, I can't see anything else; the rest of the world disappears, and there's just the Lady and her beautiful light. Imagine how much your mom loves you, and then multiply that love a million times.
"Because she loves us so much, she wants us to have more faith in God. She told me that her Son will return to earth soon and that our souls must be prepared for His arrival. The world is in a very bad way, with a lot of hatred and sin, so she wants us to say the Rosary every day to cleanse our hearts and show our love for her, for Jesus, and for God. She says that praying the Rosary is the best way to show her our love."
At Kibeho, the Blessed Mother showed the visionaries savage murders, machetes, a "river of blood," and "the putrefying remains of hundreds of thousands." She told the seers to warn government leaders, who belonged to the Hutu tribe, not to battle with the minority Tutsis.
Unfortunately, the warning was not heeded and 12 years after the first apparitions, the two tribes entered a horrible civil war -- with one slaughter taking place on the very spot where the Blessed Mother appeared.
Twenty-five thousand died where pilgrims once knelt. The hands of a statue of the Madonna were shot off during the war and a bullet was embedded in her heart. Three of the seers were slaughtered in the mayhem. Many of the deceased were chopped up and thrown in a river.
As prophesied, machete-wielding soldiers killed everyone in sight. More than a million Rwandans died in the span of a few short months -- the highest rate of killing in recorded military history.
Later, the site of the Kibeho slaughter would return to a pilgrim spot where now healings and other miracles are reported as the faithful pray in a chapel. A major request? That we go back to an old practice known as the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. In the U.S., warnings have focused more on such issues as abortion, Godlessness, and genetic manipulation.
"My child, you must pray, for the world is in a horrible way," said Mary. "People have turned from God and the love of my Son, Jesus.
"No one goes to Heaven without suffering. And as a child of Mary, you may never put down the Cross you bear."
At one point the Blessed Mother reportedly asked Alphonsine to sing a song, this time repeating two lines of a verse seven times each: First: There will be fire that will come from beneath the earth and consume everything on earth... And then: The day will come to take those who have served you, God, we beg you to have mercy on us."
It is not known what the Church thinks of those particular prophecies but the claim involving Jesus is interesting in the light of Church approval, which was issued on June 29, 2001 in the "Declaration on the Definitive Judgment on the Apparitions of Kibeho," by Rwandan Bishop Augustine Misago and released by the Holy See at Vatican City.
"The world is on the edge of catastrophe," the Blessed Mother told Marie-Claire (we don't say "allegedly" when it is Church-approved). "Cleanse your hearts through prayer. The only way is God. If you don't take refuge in God, where will you go to hide when the fire has spread everywhere?"
Serious messages. And yet, as we shall see, the most phenomenal part of these apparitions was as uplifting as it can get.
The seers were shown that we live forever and were taken to Heaven.
[Next: The Rosary of Seven Sorrows]
[resources: Our Lady of Kibeho and The Day Will Come]
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