Immaculèe Ilibagiza wants those who attend her retreat next month to come away with a profound thanks to God for everything they have.
Ilibagiza, a survivor of the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, will lead a retreat July 14-15 at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, 124 N. Roosevelt, in Wichita.
The author of “Left to Tell,” the story of her miraculous survival of the Rwanda Holocaust, and several other books about the Blessed Mother and Catholicism in Africa, said last week in a telephone interview from New York City that she will also share her love for the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared in Vatican approved apparitions in the 1980s. Our Lady of Kibeho, as she was later named, seemed to warn about the holocaust that occurred in 1995.
“It was the first apparition to be approved in Africa – on the entire continent,” she said. One of the first warnings she gave was about the terrible incidents that were going to occur if the people did not “come back to God,” she said.
The genocide, in which she lost her mother and father and two brothers, could have been avoided, Ilibagiza said, if the people had prayed more. “The message concerns not only Rwanda,” she added, “not even just Africa, but the whole world.”
The author and motivational speaker said she hopes those attending the retreat come away with a faith that’s on fire “remembering that God is on their side, to follow God, and to respect his commandments. It is such a gift you can’t put a price to that.”
Ilibagiza also said she wants those attending to be able to put their lives in perspective.
“I want them to go home saying whatever I am going through, there is hope because my God is almighty and he’s forgiving. I want people to go home thinking, ‘I’m alive again,’” she said.
That’s why she wrote “Left to Tell,” she said, a book that made the New York Times bestseller list.
After her retreats she has dealt with grown men weeping about Blessed Virgin and about their mothers, with people who realized that their problems are something they can handle with God’s help, and with people who have been inspired to return to school or have made a renewed commitment to their families.
“I will tell people about my story, my journey to forgive, and how prayer became every thing,” she said. “I want people to go home charged with love for their family and to count their blessings.”

Want to attend the July 14-15 retreat?
Immaculèe Ilibagiza will bring her message of faith and forgiveness to a retreat at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 14, and continuing the next day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The cost is $57 for one person, or $76 to register with a guest. Priests and religious may register at no cost.
Register online at, call Blessed Sacrament Parish at 682-4557, or mail names and a check made out to Immaculee Ilibagiza to Blessed Sacrament Parish, 124 N. Roosevelt, Wichita KS 67208.