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Life is a Miracle

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Life is a Miracle

Trust your heavenly visions.
Immaculee Ilibagiza
Immaculee Ilibagiza More by this author
Nov 29, 2011 at 09:00 AM

In the early 1980s, radio news began to report visions of the Virgin Mary taking place in the town of Kibeho in central Africa…

When I was growing up in Rwanda (and thank goodness times are really changing!), women, although revered and highly respected as mothers, were all too often afforded little or no respect as independent, intelligent, thoughtful human beings. It was a very chauvinistic society in which basic rights, such as property ownership and higher education, were the domains of men. Luckily, my father and mother were progressive in their views and pushed for me to go as far in school as possible, which eventually led me to university. But male machismo was an accepted role my teenage brothers found difficult to shed, and they never missed an opportunity to crack jokes about a girl or woman who did anything a man couldn’t do—which at the time included having visions of the Virgin Mary!

“Those girls in Kibeho are either drunk or practicing voodoo,” my brother Damascene would tease with a chuckle. “You know how it is with high-school girls, don’t you? They’re worried that they won’t get a husband after they graduate, so they want to learn magic to help them catch a man before they get too old!”

My father would always hush my brothers and let me listen to the Kibeho reports, even though he was a well-educated and cautious man by nature and was hesitant at first to believe that the visionaries were having actual apparitions. But he had a deep love and respect for the Virgin Mary, and if anyone showed love and affection for Our Lady, as I certainly did, Dad would fully support and encourage their devotion.

“Time will tell if these apparitions are real or not,” Dad would say to the boys. “But if these schoolgirls are helping build people’s faith in the Blessed Mother, we are going to let your sister listen to what they have to say on the radio . . . and you’re going to listen along with her, boys. Your sports scores and soccer games can wait.”

My brothers would groan and roll their eyes, and they predicted that the little shrine in my bedroom would soon be laden with even more statues of the Virgin Mary. But their complaints ended on a sunny summer day in 1982 when we heard about a new visionary who had arrived in Kibeho . . . a boy named Segatashya, who was receiving visitations from Jesus Christ himself. For my brothers, the fact that a boy had become a visionary suddenly made all the miraculous apparitions that had taken place in Kibeho much more credible. And it seemed that because Segatashya was the first visionary to experience apparitions of Jesus Christ, my very tough-to-impress older siblings were won over. “Well, if it’s a boy who’s talking to Jesus . . . then I guess there just might be something to all this visionary stuff in Kibeho,” my brother Aimable conceded after hearing a clip of Segatashya on the radio.

As for me, I’d already heard Segatashya’s voice a few days earlier on a tape recording played by Father Apollinaire Rwagema, our local priest, for the kids who attended his weekly children’s Mass.

I would listen to hundreds of hours of taped apparitions over the next couple of years, but that very first time I heard a recording of Segatashya will stick with me forever. A shiver ran up and down my spine when I initially heard the boy’s gentle voice coming out of the crackly speakers of Father Rwagema’s old tape player. Father Rwagema told us that he made the recording on a sunny day, under a bright blue sky without a cloud in sight . . . then he urged us to listen closely.

The 200 or so kids with whom I sat huddled on the floor of the one-room chapel were as mesmerized as I was by what we heard coming from the tape machine. First we heard the chanting of the large crowd—thousands of pleading voices—that had gathered in Kibeho to hear the visionaries communicate with heaven. The crowd cried out to Segatashya, addressing him by name and calling for him to summon a miracle . . . a miracle to give them faith in what they were witnessing and to help them truly believe in the apparitions.

Above the din of the crowd, arose the soft tenor voice of Segatashya as he reverently addressed Jesus: “Yes, Lord, I have told them many times,” the voice said. “No, Lord, they don’t listen . . . they always tell me they want a miracle. They won’t believe that you’re talking to me, Jesus—not without seeing a miracle or a sign.”

Suddenly a peel of thunder blasted through the tape recorder’s speakers, and the kids in the room jumped up in unison. We could hear frightened screams ripple through the hubbub of the surprised crowd. Then there were some cheers for the miracle that had just happened, followed by the calming voice of Segatashya as he urged everyone in the crowd not to worry about the thunder that had literally struck from out of the blue.

“Jesus says you shouldn’t be afraid; he would never do anything to harm his children,” the boy insisted. “No one here has been injured, pregnant women need not worry about their babies, and those with weak hearts will be well . . . yes Lord, I’ll tell them as you say . . . Jesus is saying that he gave you thunder so you would listen to his messages and not ask for miracles that have no meaning . . . because your lives are miracles. A true miracle is a child in the womb; a mother’s love is a miracle; a forgiving heart is a miracle. Your lives are filled with miracles, but you are too distracted by material things to see them.

“Jesus tells you to open your ears to hear his messages, and open your hearts to receive his love. Too many people have lost their way and walk the easy road that leads away from God. Stop looking to the sky for miracles. Open your heart to God; true miracles occur in the heart.”

That was the first divine message I heard Segatashya deliver and, as I said, it changed my life. That message opened my heart to the essence of all the messages that would be delivered in Kibeho. The simple honesty in this boy’s voice instantly made him my favorite among all the visionaries.

About Author
Immaculee Ilibagiza
Immaculée Ilibagiza was born in Rwanda and studied electronic and mechanical engineering at the National University. She lost most of her family during the 1994 genocide. Four years later, she emigrated to the United States and began working at th Continue reading