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Father Vjeko, the witness of the love of Jesus Christ
Tuesday, 18 March 2008 Written by Restude Nyirahabumugisha

sister Restude NyirahabumugishaTo you brothers and sisters, who had the chance to know and to live with Father Vjeko. Remembers of Kivumu parish and Kabgayi Diocese where Father Vjeko accomplished his mission, I would like to share with you this sad experience of commemorating the 10th anniversary of the unexpected death of Father Vjeko by giving you my witness. Parents, brothers and sisters of Father Vjeko, ten years passed since Vjeko has left us. It is on 31st January, 1998. that we heard that Father Vjeko was gunshot by an unknown gunman in Kigali and till today no results of investigations have been given. Therefore we are still grieving for his death. Allow me to get to the point, Father Vjeko was a man of faith, a man of belief but especially a man of love and strong mercy for the poor people. He loved all people without distinction.

In his life time at Kivumu, he sacrificed his life for the citizens of Kivumu by helping poor people: he built many houses for them, he cared about sick people an even during the 1994 war and genocide he didn't think of leaving Kivumu. He used to say: „I love people of Kivumu, to make me leave Kivumu is like to die“. He showed his love during 1994. genocide when he protected many people against killers and he helped others to escape. He was really a man of great devotion no matter difficulties he should face.

I was among those who had the chance to know him in 1984 when I was still a young girl with a will of following Jesus but at this time I had no clear thought of the way and the will of God towards me. Father Vjeko together with other fathers enlightened me by his works of helping poor people. He received us with a master of Kinyarwanda, he gave us a warm welcome. I and others who wanted to take a religious way; we were encouraged by Father Vjeko. Then we enterd a family called „ Friends of St. Francis“ of which Vjeko was the head. We were strongly attracted by his love, his conversation. Then he started by teaching us how to pray, do and help poor people. We were together in the country side to visit people. Therefore, because of the image of Vjeko, we became members of Franciscan sisters in 1986.

Finally, Father Vjeko helped us as nuns but also the whole community of Kivumu before, during and after 1994 genocide. We cannot forget the role he played after 1994 genocide of helping widows of 1994 genocide and also orphans. The work he began is still going on: Many associations generating income are still going on; indeed he gave us an economic, spiritual and social support not only to our religious community by also to the whole nation of Rwanda. We made many friends because of him like Father Dragos of Bukamu, Father Ivica from Uganda and other sisters. Finaly, Father Vjeko was a man of truth and love towards those who are in need of them. We will never forget him; he will continue to be our mirror and light within our life. May God almighty bless him for ever and ever.

I would like to give my special thanks to the whole community of Franciscans for their support and their devotion towards our Franciscan family in Rwanda. I would also thank the parents and relatives of Father Vjeko for continuing to visit us and their friendship before and after the death of Father Vjeko.

Paix a Vaus tous!

Written by sister Restude Nyirahavumugisha, teacher at Father Vjeko Centre.

Father Vjeko Center

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