Thursday, March 25, 2010
Led By Faith: Rising From the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide
LED BY FAITH: Rising From the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide, by Immaculée Ilibagiza, with Steve Erwin. Hay House, Inc. 202 pp. hardcover; paperback.
Reviewed by ELIZABETH YANK, an avid reader, homeschool mother and freelance writer from South Milwaukee.
THERE SHE WAS AGAIN, Immaculée Ilibagiza, on the cover of her new book. I had always wanted to read Left to Tell, but had never gotten around to it. Now she has written a sequel, Led by Faith.
In Left to Tell, Immaculée recounts her horrific experience of living through the 1994 Rwandan genocide. One million Tutsis were brutally murdered by the Hutus. Such a number is hard to imagine. Through the kindness of a Protestant pastor, the Catholic Immaculée huddled with seven other women in a tiny, cramped bathroom. Despite nearly starving to death and fearing death at any moment, she survived.
When she emerged, she discovered her mother, father and two brothers had been killed. One after another relative was reported dead. Rather than live a life of rage and resentment, she turned to God for healing. Through God's transforming power of love, she was able to forgive those who had so cruelly butchered her family and destroyed their home.
Now in Led by Faith, she picks up the theme of God's loving divine providence. After recapping the events of the genocide, she highlights the significant events of her new life and how she has continued to cope with her loss.
When the genocide was over, fear abounded. Two million Hutus had fled in exile, fearing reprisals. The Tutsis were afraid that the genocide organizers were regrouping in the thick jungles of Zaire.
The number of dead was staggering. Everywhere were the ruins of burnt-out or destroyed homes. Could the new government ever recover? More importantly, could Hutu and Tutsi families ever live side by side again?
Immaculée had lost everything—her family, her home, the possibility of a college education. She was adrift, yet God had a plan for her. While many were unemployed, she was able to find a job with the United Nations. When she was pressured to compromise her moral principles, she chose to live by faith. When all seemed lost, her courage and daring urged her on.
Ultimately, her adventurous spirit led her to come to the United States. Rather than live a life consumed with grief, she found a new life after the tragedies.
What makes this book a joy to read is Immaculée's beautiful soul. She doesn't pretend that a magic formula will answer all problems. She presents herself as fully human, experiencing the sorrow of missing her family, the anguish of not having been able to live a normal life, and the uncertainty of the future. After she meets her future husband and has children, she shares the happiness and love of her newfound family.
What is most amazing about Immaculée is . . . To read the rest, go to the link below.
You can order LED BY FAITH: Rising From the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide from St. Francis Bookstore.
This review first appeared in St. Anthony Messenger Press Magazine.
Led by Faith Review