The Gregorian Blog

Immaculee Iligabiza chats with Kansas City-Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumaan before her Sept. 11 talk. Immaculee Iligabiza drew an enormous crowd to St. Benedict's Abbey Church on Sept. 11. President Stephen D. Minnis gives the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict to Immaculee - the highest honor Benedictine College bestows. A student shares her thoughts after Immaculee's session with Benedictine College students... ... and Immaculee responds with an embrace. President Minnis gets Immaculee to sign a few more books. Immaculee chats with a monk from St. Benedict's Abbey on campus. Immaculee visits Mary's Grotto at Benedictine College after joining the Memorare Army. Benedictine College students were surprised by Immaculee's visit to the grotto.

Immaculée Ilibagiza Joins Benedictine College’s Memorare Army

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Imaculee Ilibagiza prays at Benedictine College's grotto.
Imaculee Ilibagiza prays at Benedictine College's grotto.

Immaculée  Ilibagiza, who survived the Rwandan genocide and devoted herself to promoting prayer and forgiveness, has joined Benedictine College’s Memorare Army for Religious Liberty. The college also awarded her its highest honor, the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict.

The Memorare Army for Religious Freedom was started by Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis at the suggestion of Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., in the wake of the HHS contraceptive mandate and other efforts to undermine religious liberty. The Cross of the Order of St. Benedict recognizes charitable acts of distinction.

Immaculée spent two days at Benedictine College Sept. 11-12. She shared the remarkable story of how praying the rosary allowed her to grow in faith while she and seven other women hid in a tiny bathroom during the Rwandan Genocide. She was awarded the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict, the highest award bestowed by the school.

In the massacre 800,000 Rwandans were murdered— including Immaculée’s entire family. She tells the story of survival and forgiveness in her best-selling book Left to Tell.

In conversations with Benedictine College President Minnis in between presentations, she became fascinated by the stories of Mary’s miracles at Benedictine College.

  • In 1856, our Abbey’s founder, Benedictine Father Henry Lemke, prayed to Our Lady as he collapsed in exhaustion in the Kansas wilderness. A little girl put a candle in her window because “A lady dressed in white” told her to. Father Lemke saw the light and was saved.
  • Benedictine College was founded in 1858, the year that “Lady Dressed in White” visited another small town little girl: St. Bernadette of Lourdes, France.
  • President Minnis credits previous Memorare Army prayer campaigns on campus for delivering on their intentions for:  enrollment growth, the completion of Mary’s Grotto, and the completion of our new Academic Building.
  • Archbishop Naumann tells the story of “How Prayer Stopped a Kansas Storm.”

Today, the Memorare Army for Religious Freedom is a worldwide phenomenon, with “prayer warriors” in 6 countries, and all 50 U.S, states, praying 2.8 million memorares.

When Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis started the Memorare Army for Religious Liberty, we hoped that in a few weeks we would attract enough members to say 1 million Memorares for religious freedom. We got there in a few days. 

The Memorare is one of the prayers for Catholics recommended in the Holy See’s official Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Immaculée told her audience, "You are very blessed to be here at Benedictine College. You are very blessed with your president and his 'Army of Memorares!'"

"Immaculée was fascinated by the Memorare Army and so she jumped at the chance when I invited her to join," said President Minnis. "This is a woman who knows the power of prayer, especially when Our Lady is involved. I am so glad our students had the opportunity to hear her message of mercy and trust."

Click here for more information about Immaculée.

Click here for more information or to join the Memorare Army.

Benedictine College

An heir to St. Gregory's legacy, Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, hopes to pass into American culture the enduring wisdom of our civilization's roots.


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