books / Refugees / Society

Rwanda Genocide Survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza to speak here tomorrow

from the St. Thomas Bulletin


Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza

Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan woman who survived the 1994 genocide in her country by hiding in a pastor’s cramped bathroom for three months, will speak on “Faith, Hope and Forgiveness” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.


Her talk, free and open to the public, is sponsored by St. Thomas’ University Lectures Committee. A reception in the atrium outside the auditorium will follow the talk.

Ilibagiza, who told her story in a best-selling book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust (Hay House, 2006), had spoken last May at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and at a St. Thomas conference, where she also received an honorary doctorate.

Publisher’s Weekly described Ilibagiza’s book in March 2006:

“In 1994, Rwandan native Ilibagiza was 22 years old and home from college to spend Easter with her devout Catholic family, when the death of Rwanda’s Hutu president sparked a three-month slaughter of nearly one million ethnic Tutsis in the country. She survived by hiding in a Hutu pastor’s tiny bathroom with seven other starving women for 91 cramped, terrifying days.

“This searing firsthand account of Ilibagiza’s experience cuts two ways: her description of the evil that was perpetrated, including the brutal murders of her family members, is soul-numbingly devastating, yet the story of her unquenchable faith and connection to God throughout the ordeal uplifts and inspires. Her account of the miracles that protected her is simple and vivid. Her Catholic faith shines through, but the book will speak on a deep level to any person of faith.

“Ilibagiza’s remarkable path to forgiving the perpetrators and releasing her anger is a beacon to others who have suffered injustice. She brings the battlefield between good and evil out of the genocide around her and into her own heart, mind and soul. This book is a precious addition to the literature that tries to make sense of humankind’s seemingly bottomless depravity and counterbalancing hope in an all-powerful, loving God.”

Left to Tell has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide and has been made into a documentary. Ilibagiza’s Left to Tell Charitable Fund has raised more than $150,000 for the orphans of Rwanda. She has received numerous humanitarian awards, including the 2007 Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace.


5 thoughts on “Rwanda Genocide Survivor Immaculée Ilibagiza to speak here tomorrow

  1. wow, what a heart-wrenching story, definitely on my booklist. Left To Tell.. that is soo fitting, the suffering in this world is unbelievable. I seriously believe that God has a special place in His heart for victims of unspeakable atrocities the world over.

  2. I have read the book, and have meant to write a review… but that year, I had written reviews on so many war stories…so I could not handle it emotionally. Anyway, perhaps meeting her today will push me towards writing it.

    Her story of survival displays the high threshold of the human spirit.

  3. I’ve never read the book but I always feel pity down my heart listening, watching and reading such stories. form the short story above and from the film I saw called Hotel Rwanda. I believe I cant tell on how I feel. May the grace of lord shine on the left ophans and every one who faced the consequence of those years

  4. hello,
    Yes at last I have gone throught the Videos of the said lady Emaculate and read her books online. Its a very inspiring book for the people who knows of our saviour. Lady Emaculate, I have nothing to say than praying for the succes of yours. easpecially on the foundation you sited at ya home. wish you the best

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