On November 28, 1981, as Alphonsine Mumureke, 16, was helping in her convent school’s dining hall, she heard someone call, “My daughter.” Going out into the corridor she saw a woman in white, who, in the native Kinyarwandan language, identified herself as the Mother of the Word (Nyrina wa Jambo), asked about the student’s faith, and urged her to join the Legion of Mary. Alphonsine continued to experience apparitions through December, usually followed by several minutes of unconciousness, but most of her schoolmates disbelieved her until January 12, 1982, when the Mother of the Word began appearing to another 16-year-old student, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka. Eventually there were seven visionaries, including a seven-year-old pagan boy and a 24-year-old Moslem woman, joined in prayer by crowds of pilgrims. In an eight-hour ecstasy on August 15, 1982, they saw the bloody future of their land. The Mother gave songs as well as exhortations to believe, pray, and repent. After an investigation, on August 15, 1988 the bishop approved worship at the site. Alphonsine continued seeing the Mother of the Word until November 28, 1989, by which time apparitions to the other seers had ceased. She lost her whole family in the 1991-5 civil war, in which at least two of the other visionaries died. In July 2002, the Vatican verified the apparitions. In 2003, Cardinal Sepe, head of the Vatican’s missionary arm, consecrated the shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows at the site.
Information from Roy Abraham Varghese, 2000, at motherofallpeoples.com, © 2004
Picture from the shrine’s site, www.kibeho.org.