This is the end of NFP Awareness Week but better late than never!
National NFP Awareness Week – JULY 19 – JULY 25, 2020
Live the truth and beauty of
God’s plan for married love!
Natural Family Planning
It’s about love. It’s about life. It’s about freedom. It’s about gift.
“Celebrate and reverence God’s vision of human sexuality.”
Here is my interview with Carol Puschaver, author of Though War Be Waged Upon Me: A St. Michael Treasury of Prayer and Reflection, which can be purchased at this link.
EG: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
CP: I need to say first of all that I tend to be playful and am intensely curious — about everything!
What does this mean? How does that work? (And why?) Where will this road take me?
There. That said, I am the youngest of five, raised in a traditional Catholic family. I grew up in the Deep South of Alabama and attended a small Catholic grade school as the tumultuous late 60’s and early 70’s unfolded with a series of quite extraordinary events: Vatican II, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, Apollo moon landing, Watergate scandal; the shootings at Kent State University in Ohio.
Eight years after those shootings killed four students and wounded nine others, I enrolled as a freshman at Kent State and earned Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English. My studies made me hungry to go and explore the places where history was made, sometimes on a truly epic scale across a world stage over centuries. For some thirty years, I have been blessed with travels throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. Each trip seemed naturally to take on a sense of pilgrimage, whether recalling the missionary journeys of St. Paul while sailing among the Greek Islands, contemplating Jesus calling His first disciples as I waded in the shallows of the Sea of Galilee, or feeling oh so close to heaven while sitting quietly in the cathedral nave of Notre-Dame de Paris*, with its unmistakable sense of the sacred and witness to centuries.
Eventually, I turned to the health care field, became a Registered Nurse and worked in casualty claims for the better part of twenty years. My career came to an abrupt end when I was forced to retire due to Bipolar Disorder. At age 51, I was told I would likely never work again.
*I last visited Paris in 2016, the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, well before fire consumed the cathedral’s ceiling and roof in 2019. With hotel accommodations in the nearby Latin Quarter, I was easily able to walk the short distance to Notre-Dame and attend daily Mass throughout my stay.
EG: There is so much more to St. Michael than the Prayer to St. Michael composed by Pope Leo XIII. Please tell us about St. Michael and your book, Though War be Waged Upon Me …
CP: By the grace of God, St. Michael the Archangel has always been, and will be, a towering figure throughout history, from the expulsion of rebel spirits out of heaven in early times to the final overthrow of Satan at the Last Judgment. Scripture references to St. Michael in both the Old and New Testaments have led the Church to ascribe 4 principal offices to him, the foremost being to fight against Satan.
This background established early in the book leads naturally to a discussion of the vision and mystical experience of Pope Leo XIII. While this took place in 1884, I am convinced it speaks to the events we are witnessing today both within the Catholic Church and the world at large. The Holy Father’s vision showed St. Michael coming to the aid of the Church in extremis and his experience led him to write the Prayer to St. Michael. The book launches into a collection of prayers, including the St. Michael Chaplet (see question four) and Litany, Novena and Consecration prayers.
There follows the section, “An Archangel’s Beauty: Insights from the Treasury of Western Christian Art.” Innumerable works of art portraying St. Michael over the centuries offer an inestimably rich and visual perspective of the Warrior Archangel. Sacred art has much to teach and inspire us; its worthy contemplation often leads to greater devotion.
Living this devotion becomes the focus of the next section, with a discussion of “Ways to Love and Honor St. Michael.” Pick and choose from among nearly thirty possibilities such as
– recite the prayer to St. Michael – often
– ask his protection for priests and the Holy Father
– radiate the truth always
Before the Concluding Prayer to the Archangels, as a nod to my playful and questioning self, I have included a “Did You Know . . .?” section. Here discerning readers can learn
– how to tell St. Michael from St. George
– what St. Francis de Sales had to say about St. Michael
– which are some of the 21 professions having St. Michael as their patron saint
EG: You have a deep devotion to St. Michael. How did that strong devotion develop?
CP: My sudden retirement, which I had not foreseen or planned for especially (see answer to question one) sent me reeling. In one of the darkest chapters of my life, I seemed to feel myself falling down a rabbit hole – and who could say how dark and deep?
So I prayed – or more like “nagged” – Jesus to please lead me. Since I no longer had to be at work at 7 in the morning, I started going to daily Mass. All I can day is that gradually, inexplicably, I began to have an awareness of angels, particularly guardian angels, including my own. I have never seen as angel as we tend to think of them, but I clearly sensed their presence. It was an incredibly sweet consolation to realize all the angels in the grocery store check-out line, at singing rehearsal; during Mass – as many people, so were there as many dear angels.
After a time, this ongoing awareness led me to focus on St. Michael the Archangel. I did not know much about him, other than the prayer we used to say at the end of Mass and his being the patron of military and law enforcement individuals. I was curious to learn more.
It did not take long to discover the vision of Pope Leo XIII and his account of the “horrible picture [he had] been permitted to see . . . a vision of the activities of the evil spirits and their efforts against the Church. But in the midst of the horror, the Archangel Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell” (Though War Be Waged Upon Me, 17). This took place just after His Holiness had celebrated Mass at the Vatican. The date was October 13, 1884, that is, 33 years to the day before the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima.
The words quickly sank in, and as I was sitting reading, my head snapped up sharply as though I had just been hit by something. I came straightway to the conviction that we are living – here and now — the vision.* That was it. I was so thoroughly impressed by our urgent need for St. Michael’s help that I resolved then and there to do all in my power to actively promote and encourage devotion to him.
*The clergy sex abuse scandal in the Church was again making headlines.
EG: Tell us a bit about the St. Michael Chaplet and why you believe it is so powerful.
CP: I first came across a St. Michael Chaplet unexpectedly while signing in for my usual Eucharistic Adoration hour. Someone had left as a “takeaway” the odd multi-colored jumble of beads that somewhat resembled a Rosary, but lacked a crucifix, and had nine sections of three beads instead of the familiar five decades with ten Hail Mary beads. It did not help that it was broken and I remember thinking, “What the heck is that?!” Luckily knowing about someone who made and repaired Rosaries, I took it with me to have it mended. Several weeks later I received it back with word that it was a St. Michael Chaplet. “A what?” Clearly, I had more learning to do.
St. Michael himself revealed the Chaplet to a Carmelite religious in the 18th century. The Prince of the Heavenly Host asked that it be prayed in his honor and that of the nine heavenly choirs of angels – all for the greater honor and glory of God. He made three remarkable promises to those who recite the Chaplet, “particularly in such time as the Catholic Church should experience some special trial” (Though War Be Waged Upon Me, p. 20):
Those who pray the Chaplet before receiving Holy Communion will have an escort
of nine angels, one from each of the nine Choirs of angels, and
Those who pray the Chaplet daily will enjoy the continual assistance of St. Michael
and that of all the holy angels during this life, and
He, St. Michael, will obtain deliverance from purgatory for all who pray the Chaplet
And for their relations.
Consider that is it none other than the Nine Choirs of Angels whose powerful intercession we are seeking as we pray the Chaplet. These countless, ineffable angel hosts have always preserved their God-given innocence and intellect even when Lucifer rebelled together with so many of their fellows. In everything they conform perfectly to the will of God, “for Whom nothing is impossible” (Lk 1.37).
As spiritual, incorporeal beings, the holy angels are not bound by the physical limitations of space and time. Consequently, we implore the help of heavenly beings for whom, by the grace, granting, and will of God
– no whisper is too faint, or light too dim,
– hunger, infirmity, fatigue, the cold of winter and heat of summer have no effect,
– nothing is too heavy or overwhelming; there is no mountain too high, ocean too
deep, current too swift, or journey too far;
– no language is foreign, human plan secret, treasure hidden or dilemma insurmountable.
Consider just a small number of ways the angels are lively, marvelously at work in Scripture as they
– guard us in all our ways (Ps. 91.11)
– minister by countless thousands to the Ancient of Days (Cf. Dan. 7.9-10)
– prepare Isaiah for his prophetic mission (Cf. Isa. 6.6)
– announce the wonder of the Incarnation: “you will conceive . . . and bear a Son” (Lk. 1.31)
– make the heavens resound with exultant praise: “Glory to God in the highest” (Lk. 2.14)
– comfort Jesus in the Garden (Cf. Lk. 22.43)
– witness to the Resurrection (Cf. Lk. 24.6);
– seal the foreheads of the servants of God (Cf. Rev. 8.3)
With the Chaplet we implore the intercession of these wondrous angel citizens of heaven and, as St. Michael taught us, petition them for a treasure trove of spiritual gifts: perfect charity, true and sincere humility, a spirit of obedience, deliverance, perseverance . . . The Chaplet ends with a plea to St. Michael to deliver us from evil “especially at the hour of our death” and bring us safely into the “august presence of [God’s] Divine Majesty.” (Though War Be Waged Upon Me, p. 24).
Finally, adding to the Chaplet’s power is the approval and indulgence granted by Blessed Pope Pius in 1851.
EG: Our world is in turmoil with an obvious battle raging between good and evil. How can St. Michael give us hope and faith that good will triumph?
CP: Consider that St. Michael accomplishes everything by the power, design and permission of Almighty God. Let that sink in for a minute. . . . The divinely-appointed Warrior Archangel
– acts out of love for God and in perfect obedience and loyalty to God’s holy will,
– is animated with a most lively trust in God, even in the midst of the greatest danger,
– fights the archenemy and his legions without trace of fear, hesitation or reserve,
– cannot be taken by surprise, outwitted, outmaneuvered, overcome or defeated, and
– is perfectly invincible and one might say, necessarily victorious, for “the battle belongs to the Lord” (1 Sam. 17. 47).
I often think of St. Michael along the lines of a military general, albeit one having a singular God-given ability to fight and prevail against the forces of evil. As Satan spends himself “with the reckless abandon of one who has nothing more to lose” (Though War Be Waged Upon Me, back cover), St. Michael remains firmly in command of the situation. In our own present time especially, when evil seems to be winning, he stands out as a magnificent example of St. Paul’s teaching:
. . . where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Rom. 5.20).
Our world is in trouble, and I earnestly believe things are going to get worse as the “birth pangs” (Matt. 24.8) intensify and become more frequent. We do well to call on St. Michael sincerely and often.*
Even as generals sometimes deliver a rousing message to their soldiers about to go into harm’s way, so I think St. Michael might have some words for us. Maybe something like:
Have courage and fight with the ability God gives. Above all, live always in the
love of God, “Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 15.57)
*As previously mentioned in the question two above, a brief and very powerful prayer (Only 59 words, including “Amen”!) is that written by Pope Leo XIII:
Saint Michael the Archangel defend us in battle. Be our defense against the
wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly
pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl around the world seeking
the ruin of souls. Amen.
Please, make a habit of saying this prayer from your heart — often.
EG: You also have a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. How are these two devotions interconnected? How are they similar and how are they different?
CP: Oh goodness. Well . . .
One point I need make in no uncertain terms is a cornerstone of our faith:
God alone is almighty and sovereign, with an “everlasting dominion” (Dan. 7.14) over all things. No matter how much we may love or revere the angels and saints, and even our Blessed Mother –
IT IS GOD ALONE, FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM WE ADORE.
Looking back, I think my devotion to the Sacred Heart began when I was 14 and living in Alabama, although I did not realize it at the time. I got something in the mail (a miracle in itself!) – from the Sacred Heart Auto League. “But I’m not even old enough to drive,” I remember thinking. Inside was a small laminated Sacred Heart “badge.” Somehow that dear badge stayed with me over many years, through high school, college, work and travel. It even survived a run-in with the washing machine! The Sacred Heart, it seems, was determined to stay with me. The same is true of a beautiful vintage picture of the Sacred Heart that has been in my family since before I can remember. Somehow, it has stayed with me too.
For me, Sacred Heart devotion and Eucharistic Adoration just go together naturally. Even perfectly and seamlessly. By the grace of God, I have gone to Adoration almost every week for 22 years, starting in 1998. (Unfortunately, COVID-19 resulted in an unavoidable four-month suspension of this special devotion, from March to July, 2020). In the course of our regular one-on-one visits over the years, I believe our Eucharistic King Jesus deepened my faith in the mystery of His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, and with accounts of Eucharistic Miracles such as Lanciano, brought me to understand that the consecrated Host is, in reality, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That was, and remains an unspeakably profound treasure of faith..
My devotion to St. Michael developed much later in life, about 3-4 years after I retired at 51.
A growing awareness of angels (see question three) led naturally to a focus on St. Michael, and with it, the study of the mystical vision of Pope Leo XIII. The account of the revelation granted to the Holy Father catapulted a nascent devotion into compelling fervor and lively, irrepressible resolve to act. I experienced, if you will, nothing short of an urgent call to heavenly arms, and I “signed up” at once.
Only in retrospect did it occur to me that devotion to the Sacred Heart and devotion to St. Michael have unfolded together as though in a sweet complementarity. By turns, one seems to advance the other, always centering on and bringing me in closer union with the Eucharist – with Jesus Himself.
Love for an angel or saint leads ultimately to love for God Who creates them and raises them to be models of peerless sanctity for the Universal Church. In union with them, following their example, we are called without ceasing to give “Glory to God in the highest . . .” (Lk 2.14).
Author’s responses copyright Carol Puschaver 2020
Catholic reviewers have been enthusiastic about Though War Be Waged Upon Me:
Though War Be Waged Against Me by Carol Puschaver is a great collection of prayers and information about St. Michael the Archangel – an excellent resource for a much-needed devotion in these troubling times.
Linda Etchison, author of the Sister Aloysius books
This book is a powerful little gem that inspires deeper devotion to St. Michael and provides the prayers and practices to lives it out.
Laurie Power, Director of Evangelization and Discipleship at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Parish
Is there a more timely saint for the present age – or any age! – than St. Michael the Archangel? This short book is filled with information about the beloved angel who stands between us and evil. Some prayers were familiar and some were new to me, especially the St. Michael Chaplet. The significance of classic depictions of St. Michael was also interesting. For those who are familiar with the popular prayer to St. Michael but would like to go deeper and cultivate a devotion to the Archangel, this is a great book! I have a couple of Michaels in my life who will benefit greatly from it.
Carolyn Astfalk, award-winning author
This prayer booklet came recommended from a friend. I am very thankful that they did and that I picked it up and I can highly recommend it. It is a small volume but packed full of information and prayers.
The chapters in this volume are:
Defend Us in Battle
The Saint Michael Chaplet
A Small Prayer Treasury
An Archangel’s Beauty: Reflections on the Treasury of Western Christian Art
Ways to Love and Honor Saint Michael
Did you know …?
In the introduction we are told:
“As I reflect on the words of St. Paul in the context of current events around the world, I earnestly believe that we are living in a time of extraordinary, if not indeed unprecedented, grace.
The near-constant and ubiquitous barrage of evil can be mind-numbing and paralyzing: nuclear weapons’ brinksmanship, mass extinctions of untold species, resurgent nationalism coupled with seemingly irreconcilable ideological divides, the mounting, ominous frequency of “once-in-a-century” weather events, commonplace mass shootings, brazen terrorist attacks . . . and the list goes on.”
And that is exactly what this volume does. There are 15 prayers to Saint Michael in the chapter A Small Treasury of prayer. The book is a mix of prayers, instructions, and teachings.
Overall, I am very happy to have added this booklet to my library. It is a great little volume. And I highly recommend it.
Steven McEvoy, Book Reviews and More
After the second wave of Church scandals two summers ago, my pastor requested and received permission from our bishop to lead the assembly in praying the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after each Mass.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl around the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
It struck me, those first weeks as we all prayed together, that there is power in this prayer.
I did not know that there is so much more to the story of St. Michael and devotion to him until I read Carol Puschaver’s Though War Be Waged Upon Me: A Saint Michael Treasure of Prayer and Reflection.
This booklet, only 68 pages long, details interesting saintly connections with St. Michael the Archangel as well as encouraging the faithful to make frequent recourse to him in prayer.
Ask his help!
How wonderful it is when someone turns to you with complete confidence and asks your help! They know you are capable, they entrust their need to you, and they give you a chance to shine with your God-given talents!
Recite the Prayer to St. Michael often, and seek his intercession, especially in time of danger, trial and temptation.
Ask him for the gifts of spiritual, moral and civic courage.
Ask his help to know and discern right from wrong and act accordingly. (57)
I love how this brings home the truth that we don’t need to wait for the big stuff to happen to call upon the saints for their intercession. Indeed, we shouldn’t wait. We should keep them close. We wouldn’t want our loved ones to wait for situations to get completely out of hand before asking for our help, after all.
Learn to pray the Litany to St. Michael, the St. Michael Chaplet, and other prayers listed in Though War Be Waged Upon Me, and find the best way to keep this powerful intercessor close to you.
(Review Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz)
Barb Szyszkiewicz, Franciscan Mom and Editor, Contributor Catholic Mom
Since that most dire moment when “war broke out in heaven” as Lucifer rebelled against God, the war between good and evil has always raged, and our present time is no exception. To the contrary, the forces of good and evil are locked in a battle that appears to be escalating, growing more ominous by the day. And it hardly seems any exaggeration to feel that evil has the upper hand – and Satan is not about to pull any punches.
So what is the average layperson to do?
Though War Be Waged Upon Me: A Saint Michael Treasury of Prayer and Reflection is a book written by Carol Puschaver as one answer to this pressing question. The reader can draw hope and remember that grace is at work as he/she appeals to St. Michael, starting with the Prayer to St. Michael that was composed by Pope Leo XIII. As the book makes clear, however, there is much more not only to the Warrior Archangel, but also the many other prayers, including the especially powerful St. Michael Chaplet.
Also in this book:
St. Michael in Salvation History
The Vision of Pope Leo and the Original Prayer to St. Michael
St. Michael Chaplet
Ways to Love and Honor St. Michael
The blurb: Make no mistake. Satan is very much alive — and hellbent on revenge. He is waging war against humanity, and indeed against all creation, with the reckless abandon of one who has nothing more to lose. Cast out of heaven; crushed at the foot of the Cross, he is multiplying evil and outrage and scandal to unprecedented effect as he “strikes at [the] heel” (Gen 3.15) of “fallen mankind” (St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible, Revised Edition, 9).Without question we are living in a time of increasingly brazen evil. That is to say, a time of extraordinary and abundant grace also. Christ has already won the final victory over Satan. By His grace, we stand strong against the forces of evil. By that same ineffable grace, we stand in the company of holy angels — most especially the glorious Warrior Archangel Saint Michael. And the high ground belongs to us!
My review: This is a beautiful booklet dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. If you thought the only St. Michael prayer was the one we sometimes say at the end of Mass, then this book will be an eye opener for you. Included is a history of the St. Michael prayers as well as a chaplet and reflections. Highly recommend.
About the Author: Carol Puschaver earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English from Kent State University, Ohio, and lives in Upstate New York. A lifelong scholar, amateur historian and world traveler, she has a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Michael the Archangel.
To purchase the Kindle edition at only 1.99, click here.
To purchase the Paperback edition at only 5.99, click here.
I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom on An Open Book. Here’s what I’ve been reading over the past month.
Synopsis: This amazing narrative will stir your heart and soul while it chronicles the experience of a simple Polish nun.
My review: These past few weeks, I’ve been helping a fellow Catholic author edit a book about Divine Mercy and St. Faustina. After editing this book, I felt compelled to read the Diary again. I’ve read this book before, but out of order. I’m reading it again, this time, in order. It’s beautiful and inspiring.
Synopsis: Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.
My review: With everything that’s going on since George Floyd’s death, and the racism that some have to endure, this was a compelling story, but a frustrating one. You know how the story will end, but it’s still frustrating getting to that point. There’s a surprise plot twist during the climax of the story, as there is in most of Picoult’s books. All in all, a good read. Four out of five.
Synopsis: Tess Morgan loves being a pediatric nurse and helping the children under her care. She’d always wanted a large family, but that dream was shattered when her fiancé was murdered while volunteering in South America.
Peter “Mac” MacPherson, a former football superstar, had dealt with his own tragedies—the deaths of his father followed by his wife while she was giving birth to their daughter. His faith sustained him through his grief, but can he help Tess believe again in God and finally find a family—with him?
My review: On my “To Read” Shelf.
Synopsis: About to give the closing argument on the most important case of her career, District Attorney Candice Boulanger is struck down by a heart attack. When she comes to, however, she discovers she is not in a hospital but in an odd courtroom with no windows and no doors.
A judge explains she has been momentarily taken out of her life to prosecute a different case: the relationship she had with her former “best friend forever” Milly Winters. He promises Candice that, although she is allowed to return to her life at any time, if she sees the trial all the way through, she will receive supernatural aid to help her attain her greatest desire.
Candice and Milly had been best friends since kindergarten and had vowed their friendship would last “no matter what.” Even in their teens, when Candice started drifting from her Christian faith, they managed to set aside their differences—until one day an incident blew their friendship apart.
During the trial, the two women are allowed to call as witnesses scenes from their past. Milly, as defense counsel, presents reasons the two of them should once again become friends, while Candice, still angry at Milly, argues why they shouldn’t.
Can their friendship survive . . . even if one of them has already died?
My review: Interesting idea for a book. A.J. Avila can write well and the story overall is a good one. The only thing detracting from this book is the cover, which is too simplistic and screams “self-published.”
Synopsis: Arthur Davenport has it all: looks, money, and a successful future planned by his parents. He knows that something is missing, but when he and Josie, his mother’s maid, develop a friendship that can only be based on Christian values, he realizes that his love for her is the key to his happiness. Can he convince her that he would gladly give up his life of luxury for a life of service with her?
Newport, Rhode Island in the last decades of the nineteenth century was a stunningly beautiful and glamorous playground for the rich during the summer months, and a perfect setting for a romance between a rich young man from New York City and a local girl who works for his family. The two couldn’t possibly expect to have anything in common, as he is expected to follow his father in a financial career and she is merely a maid with a mother who takes care of local children while their parents work. Arthur Davenport, spoiled and bored, unsure of his place in his family and in the eyes of God, truly meets his match in Josie Warren, who is often just a bit hard on herself for not being the perfect Christian in thought as well as deed. The two meet on the famous Cliff Walk, and neither of them can imagine where or how their instant attraction will take them as he struggles to make his parents understand that his calling is the same as hers, to help those less fortunate. He has no money of his own, and if they disinherit him out of disapproval, how can he help Josie, who has spent her life working hard to help support herself and her mother? More importantly, how can he convince her that he would gladly give up his life of luxury just to be with her?
My review: On my “To Read” Shelf.
Synopsis: Thirteen years before the bloody 1994 genocide that swept across Rwanda and left more than a million people dead, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ appeared to eight young people in the remote village of Kibeho. Through these visionaries, Mary and Jesus warned of the looming holocaust, which (they assured) could be averted if Rwandans opened their hearts to God and embraced His love. Mary also sent messages to government and church leaders to instruct them how to end the ethnic hatred simmering in their country. She warned them that Rwanda would become “a river of blood”—a land of unspeakable carnage—if the hatred of the people was not quickly quelled by love. Some leaders listened, but very few believed. The prophetic and apocalyptic warnings tragically came true during 100 horrifying days of savage bloodletting and mass murder. Much like what happened at similar sites such as Fátima and Lourdes, the messengers of Kibeho were at first mocked and disbelieved. But as miracle after miracle occurred in the tiny village, tens of thousands of Rwandans journeyed to Kibeho to behold the apparitions. After the genocide, and two decades of rigorous investigation, Our Lady of Kibeho became the first and only Vatican-approved Marian (related to the Virgin Mary) site in all of Africa. But the story still remained largely unknown. Now, however, Immaculée Ilibagiza has changed all that. She has made many pilgrimages to Kibeho, both before and after the holocaust, has personally witnessed true miracles, and has spoken with a number of the visionaries themselves. What she has discovered will deeply touch your heart!
My review: Beautiful, compelling book about the Apparitions of Our Lady of Kibeho. Highly recommend!