Between the years 28th November 1981 to 28th November 1989 Marian apparition sightings by three different girls in Kibeho were documented with some lasting up to eight hours long. The eight year period and eight hour long apparitions mark the longest ever recorded worldwide with each occasion revealing different communicated messages. In 2003 the Vatican approved these apparitions as authentic making the region a renowned landmark not only in Africa but worldwide.
Kibeho is located in the Southern Province of Rwanda and the humble route towards the Holy Sanctuary reveals a religious history and culture of the indigenous people. Touring pilgrims on the way to Kibeho also visit Kabgayi church, famous for being the only Basilica in Rwanda and also the headquarters of the Catholic Church in the country. In the Basilica the earliest bishops were buried and a museum that depicts the lifestyle and culture of the ancestors is also found at the center of the church. Save Catholic Church, the first catholic mission in Rwanda is also located along the way in Gisagara District.
Fifty two year old Anathalie Mukamazimpaka is one of the three lady seers who reported on the Marian apparitions and she is the only living seer worldwide. Anathalie resides around Kibeho Sanctuary and lives to tell the story when pilgrims from all over the world travel daily to visit and also pray together with her.
The Chapel in Kibeho has a beautiful stance with a dove like rooftop design; this outlook was given by the seer as advised by Our Lady of Kibeho during an apparition. Down the hill and close to the Sanctuary there is a Holy Spring, as it is believed that everywhere the Mother of the World reveals herself she leaves a sign of water. The path that leads to the spring is called the “Rosary Path” representing a different type of rosary that was revealed by Christ the merciful and taught by Virgin Mary to the seer, this rosary is often used and recognized as originating from Kibeho worldwide. Locals and international tourists fetch and drink from the holy water upon their visit to the Holy land because it is claimed to bring healing and blessings.
There is a Calvary Hill at Kibeho and at the centre is a statute of Jesus at the cross, this is a sacred serene area where pilgrims come to pray and meditate in commemoration of God’s Holiness. The Nyarushishi shrine that carries monuments of Jesus and Mary mother of Jesus is alleged to be the second biggest in Africa. The monuments were gifts from Mexico by Marian Fathers.
Some of the historic Marian Apparitions took place openly as the specific date, time and hour were revealed and many people would then flock to Kibeho to watch these apparitions, the then live recordings have been archived at Kibeho Sanctuary and pilgrims are given the opportunity to watch upon every visit.
To this day, The Catholic Church in Kibeho remains a religious destination in Rwanda and a part from the daily visits by pilgrims from all over the world, every year two major events sees over 30,000 tourists flood back to Kibeho Sanctuary in commemoration of the Mother of the World these are; August 15th the Assumption of the Virgin and November 28th the anniversary of the first apparition.
Rev. Clifton Lobo the Father of the Catholic Church who led a group of 48 pilgrims from Mumbai, India to visit the Holy land of Kibeho commented, “I am impressed by the sense of God, peace and tranquility that I have experienced in Kibeho together with my congregation. I am also honored that Pope John Paul visited this holy place and I look forward to my next visit to Kibeho”
Also in the group Captain Errol Fernandez added, “Kibeho is a very nice place for reconciliation and divine rest, there is also the serenity to pray. Going back home I am going to spread the word about the beauty of Rwanda and specifically the peace I found in Kibeho.”
The visitors’ journey to the sacred sites is complemented with the organic experience of travelling and staying in Rwanda’s charming countryside.