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July 22, 2008

Contact Rick Kyte at 608-796-3704 or


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Rwandan genocide survivor and best selling author Immaculée Ilibagiza will share her incredible story of strength and faith at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22 in the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center Main Theatre.

Ilibagiza and seven other women spent 91 days huddled silently in a cramped 3x4 foot bathroom of a local pastor’s house during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. When she entered the room she was a 115-pound university student with a loving family. She emerged 91 days later weighing just 65 pounds to find that most of her family and neighbors had been brutally murdered. She lost her parents, grandparents, and three brothers. The Rwandan genocide is one of history’s most documented atrocities, during which nearly one million Rwandans were slaughtered over the course of a few months.

Ilibagiza credits her survival to prayer and a set of rosary beads given to her by her devout Catholic father. She found solace and peace in prayer and was able to overcome the anger and resentment that was consuming her. Through this prayer, she eventually found it possible, then imperative, to forgive her family members’ murderer. Her faith also gave her the strength to stare down a man armed with a machete who was threatening to kill her during her escape.

She is the author of the best selling Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. She holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Notre Dame and Saint John’s University and has been recognized with numerous humanitarian awards. She is also regarded as one of the world’s leading speakers on peace, faith, and forgiveness. For more information, visit

Tickets for the event are $10 per person, and will go on sale at the Viterbo box office at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27. A reception and book signing will be held in the Fine Arts Center lobby following the presentation. Tickets are expected to go very quickly for this outstanding and prestigious event.

The presentation is the opening event in the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership’s Fall Lecture Series. For more information on the Reinhart Institute or any of its events, visit

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