My daughter and I recently attended a Lenten retreat given by Immacule’e Ilibagiza in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Immacule’e is the author of Left to Tell, Our Lady of Kibeyo, and If We Had Only Listened. She is a survivor of the Rwanda genocide of 1994 and tells an amazing story about her journey of faith and forgiveness.
If ever you have the opportunity to hear her speak, I encourage you to do so. It is a moving and very spiritual experience.
Immacule’e shared something with us that was so unbelievable, I want to share it with everyone! It involves her book, Left to Tell and Hollywood.
Once Left to Tell was released and became popular, Immacule’e said that she began to have people ask her if she would make a movie out of her story. She thought that would be impossible because her faith, the Bible and the rosary were so important to her survival; she did not feel that Hollywood would truthfully expose her faith in a movie. The more she traveled and met people, the more she heard them say that there should be a movie made of her story.
One day after hearing this same request for a movie and after giving the same answer that Hollywood would not depict her spiritual journey, Immacule’e was given the name Steve McEveety. McEveety was the producer of “The Passion of the Christ”. This was a favorite movie of Immacule’e, but she had no clue how to reach McEveety and no idea about the workings of Hollywood. So, she did what she knew. She prayed the rosary. Immacule’e started a 54 day rosary novena. She asked her friends to pray the novena with her, and together they prayed for Mary’s intercession that if this movie was to be made, Immacule’e would meet Mr. Steve McEveety.
Around the 50th day of the novena, Immacule’e was a speaker in California at the Rosary Bowl. There was an audience of tens of thousands of people and she was one of several speakers. The speakers were lined up. Immacule’e said she turned around and faced the speaker after her and saw Jesus! Acutally she saw Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in “The Passion of The Christ.” She said she was star struck and surprised when Jim Caviezel hugged her and told her that his wife read her book and they were such fans of her! Even better, Jim invited Immacule’e over to his home after the engagement to have dinner and meet his wife! She could not believe it! She said, “I was thinking, Oh my goodness, Jesus is taking me to his house!”
She went on to say that Jim’s wife was a lovely woman and they were enjoying the visit when there was a knock at the front door. Who was at the front door? None other than Steve McEveety and his wife! She was in shock. She said she had to stay calm, but every part of her wanted to shout out, “Thank you Mother!”. The five of them sat around a kitchen table and they asked Immacule’e many questions about her ordeal in Rwanda. At one point, Steve’s wife nudged him and told him, “You need to make this movie.” He replied there was no way he could do this. Immacule’e said she said nothing, but inside she thought, “If our mother wants you to make this movie, you WILL make this movie!”.
Returning home, still marveling at the coincidences that had occurred; Immacule’e received an email from Steve McEveety exactly on the last day of her 54 day novena. McEveety told Immacule’e that whatever it took, he WOULD make her movie!
Praise be the Lord!
Immacule’e is living proof of our Lord’s love for us and His mother and the power of prayer!
I cannot wait for this movie – ordained by our Lord – for all of us.