I’m compelled to add a p.s. to one of the people I highlighted earlier, Immaculee Illibagiza. (If you haven’t read that one yet, please do for more context on her. Click here.)A few weeks ago I had the privilege of learning from and meeting her when I went on a retreat in MN. She is one of the most holiest and spiritual people I’ve met and was deeply touched by her presence. EVERYONE at the retreat felt the same way. Even world renown authors, like Wayne Dwyer, feels the same way. Here’s what he had to say about Immaculee in the forward of her first book Left to Tell.
“Immaculee not only writes about unconditional love and forgiveness, but she radiates it wherever she goes. She lives at an elevated level of spiritual consciousness, and by doing so, she raises the energy level of all those whom she encounters…including myself. The very first moment we met, I knew in an absolute flash of insight that I was in the presence of a uniquely Divine woman. In those few moments, I was captured.”
He goes on to share how he sought her out and did everything he could to make sure her book was published and promoted because he knew that the world needed to meet and learn from Immaculee. I feel so incredibly grateful that I am one of those people who have been graced by her holiness.
I wrote extensively about this experience called A Mini Pilgrimage with Massive Love and if any of you are interested in finding out more about it, please just contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to share more with you about this spiritual journey. For now I’ll share with you a few excerpts from it.
Had my first experience of going on a pilgrimage, which I would categorize as one of the holiest experiences in my life (so far). Instead of flying to a far away land to visit the holy one, I traveled by car with my best friend, Julie, to a small town in Minnesota, Worthington. It took me 5½ hours to finally get to our destination, but it was worth it as we both understood more of our destiny. Here’s what happened and how it touched my life.
Teaching insights from Immaculee
- She asked God for signs and he gave it to her many times in the bathroom. She asked us if we ask God for enough signs in our lives.
- Genuine, sincere prayer from the heart has immense power for God to change our lives. She really started to ask God to help her understand the words of the prayers that she was praying and became so reverent with her prayers.
- “Pray and you’ll be touched in a way you understand it. The solution is hidden in prayer.” Immaculee demonstrated this with her next couple of stories about the power of prayer. One day she came face to face with a man from the other tribe who had killed many of her tribe after she was released from hiding. They both had weapons; him a machete and her faith. With a rosary clutched in her hand and unshakeable faith in her heart she prayed with all her might, calling on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to rid the evil within this man. Miraculously it happened.
- Gratitude, despite finding out that most of her family was killed, is what she thought of when she first emerged from hiding. “Something told her heart to be grateful.” To be grateful for the cool breeze, no longer in hiding, etc…
- Immaculee stressed the importance how everything in our lives is a gift to God. She asked us to consider what the relationship of God is in our heart. Every blessing that God gives you is available to you if you just ask.
Right now it was my will to go and personally meet Immaculee, the holiest person I’ve ever met in my life. Julie didn’t want to say anything and offered to go as my support. We went to a hallway in the church rectory waiting for our turn to meet up with Immaculee. As we waited, I prayed and asked God to guide our conversation. It was known that we all (5 of the nearly 300 who attended) would only have about 3, maybe 5 minutes with her and needed to respect that. As I stood there, it reminded me of the prime time special Beyond Belief that I had seen a few days before I left. It was about the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary and how people all over the world revered her and adored her. One part of the special was about a healer who they showed taking one woman among the thousands in a special room for healing. This is how I felt, one of the ones called to personally see and meet a holy one. I knew it was an once-in-a-lifetime honor.
We walked into a room as Immaculee sat on a chair. I sat next to her on the chair with Julie on the couch across from us. The first thing she said is that she loved my shirt (I knew it) and we hugged. She exuded such a loving presence that made me feel completely comfortable being with her. With my hands snuggled inside of her hands, we shared an intimate conversation about the letter I had written to her.
She has a deep love for the Blessed Mother Virgin Mary and the rosary, a means of praying to her. Our conversation ended with being blessed by Immaculee.
Before we left, even though they were knocking on the door for us to leave for the next person to see her, Immaculee embraced us in a hug and asked if the three of us could say a Hail Mary prayer together. The prayer seared our souls and we knew that we had been blessed greatly by the love of Mary through Immaculee’s love of her.
Trying to gain composure after we left, we went into a bathroom feeling overwhelmed with what we had experienced. Julie made the connection that we were in a bathroom that was about the size that Immaculee spent 91 days in. Now we were in a bathroom just after seeing her and feeling the hand of God touching us so lovingly through her. A bathroom experience we’ll never forget and a fun one to tell my boys (as this is where I send them if they have potty talk).
In her newest book Lady of Kibeho, she shared how her dad named her last name to be Illibagiza in Mary’s honor of blessing them with a healthy girl, which means “shining and beautiful in body and soul.” Immaculee was named for the blessed Mother’s immaculate heart. Julie and I kept commenting all weekend how beautiful she is and how her heart and soul illuminates pure love and light. We personally felt her shining soul and love with this meeting.
Again, if you are intrigued with my experience, just let me know by emailing me email@example.com and I’ll share more with you.
For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.
Janae Bower is an inspirational speaker, award-winning author and training consultant. She founded Finding IT, a company that specializes in personal and professional development getting to the heart of what matters most. She started Project GratOtude, a movement to increase gratitude in people’s lives.