The apparitions of Mother Mary in Kibeho
Written by: George Kalisa
Friday, September 14th, 2018, 1:20
A first-time pilgrim to Kibeho will find it fascinating to see a thick divide between reason and faith. Many will be tempted to jump to a conclusion to judge me as being too irreligious but my humble request is that just read on, and discover my practical experience and what I mean by this statement.
Believers engaged themselves body and soul in countless religious activities including dogmas that included reciting the Rosary, holy cleansing in pond water, drinking and filling containers with blessing-giving and healing water and clay to take home while others are seen lost in faithful prayers and/or reflection upon the graces the Holy Mother Mary delivered to this place.
Most of the spiritual activities are carried out before the monuments of the Holy Mother Mary and inside Our Lady of Kibeho Sanctuary.
The monuments of the Holy Mother Mary will be the first feature planted in the most strategic position that one’s sight will catch consciously or otherwise as they set their feet on this sacred place which is known for mainly for the successive apparitions of the Holy Mother of the Church and Our Lady of Kibeho This point serves as the first stopover for pilgrims and tourists alike. The imposing monument of Our Holy Mother Mary is just erected parallel to the main entrance of Our Lady of Kibeho Sanctuary that no visit can miss its view. Just on your left , a stone’s throw distance stands a spacious, magnificent and high-raised podium that doubles as an altar on occasions of momentous celebrations of this kind.
And, just at the backyard, overlooking the back entrance of the cathedral is another spectacular and imposing monument of Mother Mary within a circular area, decorated to details with flowers and colourful permanent pavements. Right in this place thousands of Christians prayed in shifts to invoke the graces of Our Mother Mary.
The monument is the tallest structure, much taller than the memorial building where Anathalie Mukamazimpaka and her prayer-mates were reciting the Rosary when Mother Mary appeared to her. To the east, stands the building which served as a dormitry and chapel for the students at the time of the apparitions.
The sky blue, huge gate is the main feature that distinguishes it from other buildings at the premises. On that day it served as a vestry for hundreds of nuns that celebrated this year’s Assumption of the Holy Mother Mary.
While to the west stands a multi-purpose building that hosts the library fully stocked with mainly religious paraphernalia.
This open space which is part of the area of apparitions is slightly bigger than a basketball pitch or twice as big. But bigger than the universe for its spiritual significance to the Catholic Church.
The apparitions of the Holy Virgin Mary at Kibeho which was hitherto barren and arid came with overflowing graces and blessings to the place we now know as sacred.
Pilgrims shared varied experiences on how the visit to Kibeho changes their lives including causing effective healing of infirmities of varying diseases. It is at Kibeho where one can see practical faith unfolding.
The Holy mother visited Kibeho many times with fascinating prophetic tears and message each time she appeared and the place never remained the same according to the local folks and pilgrims. For instance, the only two seasonal springs that existed at the foot of the hill henceforth rejuvenated, producing the purest water possibly in the world according to scientific tests carried out on its samples.
Since the apparitions occurred there thousands of believers from all over the world take this water which they believe has healing power. It was not different during this year’s celebrations of the Assumption of the Holy Mother on August15. Thousands of Catholics, carrying containers of different sizes from all over the world braved long queues and scorching sun to access the blessed water. Just a few feet from the all-weather flowing springs, a sizeable circular pond formed as a result of spillover water from the supernatural springs. In it, thrives a variety of green marine vegetation such the water lettuce. Similarly, pilgrims – male and female, old and young, rich and poor confessed that they get effective healing by applying the clay from it and by dipping and washing their bodies.
From far and near Pilgrims were streaming to the place, with thick layers of dust gathered during days and hours of trekking but with overflowing joy and hope in their faces. Busy washing their legs and arms as others recite the rosary.
The place was a hive of many religious activities. Some believers extracted water water-logged clay to take home as an insurance on their life but not souvenir.
Pasikaziya Nakanwagi Bbosa from Misigi Parish of Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese in central Uganda was a first time pilgrim. Filled with unswerving faith, said that she would apply the clay in the future to cure any pain on her body. She was lost for words to be in the holy place. The visibly happy lady in her late fifties said; “I am happy to be at Kibeho for the first time, I have got both the holy clay and water”.
Nakanwagi’s fellow pilgrims and compatriots were sweating profusely as they struggled through swarming place to access water as the next day was for the celebration of the Assumption of the Holy Mother.
Just at the foot of Kibeho hill, some two women were extracting whitish dry clay from a cave. As I moved farther upslope I saw large separate groups of other Christians either reciting the rosary or attentively listening to some lessons related to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in place.