Genocide survivor lives to tell her story

New York Times bestseller Immaculee Ilibagiza gave a powerful presentation in the Ridgway Area High School auditorium Thursday night recounting her personal experience of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.Deacon Larry Caggeso opened the program introducing Immaculee."She is regarded as one of the world's leading speakers on peace, faith and forgiveness," Caggeso said. "Virtues that this world definitely needs. Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to immerse yourselves in her story. Picture yourself next to Immaculee as this story unfolds and you will not leave this auditorium the same person as when you came in."Immaculee's life took a drastic turn during the 1994 Rwandan genocide where she and seven other women spent three months huddled silently together in a cramped bathroom of a local pastor's house. Immaculee retold the story of how she entered the bathroom as a vibrant 115-pound university student with a loving family, to emerging three months later to find her the majority of her family brutally murdered.Immaculee credited her salvation mostly to prayer and to a set of rosary beads given to her by her devout Catholic father prior to going into hiding. Immaculee explained how anger and resentment were eating her alive and destroying her faith, but rather than succumbing to the rage that she felt, she instead turned to prayer.Pick up a copy of the Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.