Yes, it's true. Or maybe it's more true that the people of Louisiana LOVE Our Lady of Kibeho and her ambassador, Immaculee. I spent yesterday evening and the better part of today at a retreat featuring Immaculee. Just me and 999 of her other closest friends, many of who have heard her speak on other occasions. There is just something about her that draws people - again and again. People in this area absolutely love her, and she said she feels like she is coming home when she comes here. Friday night, she was welcomed with a standing ovation before she said a single word!
Her story...her time spent in the bathroom with 7 other women for 90 some odd days hiding from mobs of roaming killers....a time during which she lost her family, but found herself, is fascinating. She speaks of the fear and of the miracles that occurred while she was in that bathroom during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She speaks of forgiveness and sadness.
I have said it before, but there is a love and a peace that just radiates from this young lady. ( I had a hard time getting a decent picture today. The crowd was enormous, my camera was acting crazy, and I didn't want to look too much like a stalker.)
I am lucky. This is the third time in a year that I've heard her speak (well, actually a year and a week, I think). And while much of what she had to say, I had heard before, there were still things that were new to me or things that I heard in a different way because I am at a different place in my life.
A year ago, I
That's Our Lady of Kibeho and some of the many flowers we brought today. When the Blessed Mother would appear in Kibeho, she often referred to those in the crowd as "her little flowers". And so today we offered flowers, but also were flowers.
She had practical advice today that I had not heard before. First of all, we need to clear away (clean house) of what is not uplifting or good. Our music, our art. I'm fine with this, but I'm not sure how far I'll get with my teenage sons. Secondly was some advice on Daily Prayer that she received from someone else.
- First is to wake up with a prayer to God. Ask Him to guide you, to forgive you, etc.
- Then once you are awake, read a few Scripture verses...I suppose it could be from part of the Daily Mass readings... and then spend a few minutes meditating upon them.
- Next is to read a paragraph....just a paragraph from some kind of spiritual reading and meditate.
- Then during the day, find five minutes or so of quiet when you can reconnect with God.
- And at the end of the day, make sure you end with prayer...I suppose there could also be another bit of Scripture and Spiritual reading.
She closed with a couple of final bits of advice. One is on my Facebook page.... If you are ever conflicted between being right or being kind, always choose kindness.
And with Lent drawing to a close and Holy Week beginning, she asked us to take time this week to see Our Lord and His Mother. Take time to love them for what they went through for us. Console them...
And along with those thoughts, I'll leave you with a couple of images that I ran across today. The church where this event has a school, and the school was open today for us to use for lunch, etc. These statues were in the lobby. I thought they were unlike anything I've seen before, but beautiful.