“I lost my Mother, my uncle and his wife at the beginning of the war in 1993. All three of them were murdered by some people from our own quarter, people whom we knew well. Then Father took our orphaned cousins to live with us. There were fourteen of us altogether and Father never showed any partiality towards any one.
In order to keep us together Father decided not to remarry. Being the oldest, I helped him out because the smaller children were feeling their mother’s absence. To my proposals that we seek justice against those who had killed our relatives, Father always helped us to forgive, explaining to us the significance of reconciliation.
He suggested to my brothers that they start a “club”, an association for young people that would promote peace and reconciliation. This club contributed to returning peace to people’s spirits in our Commune.
I live in Italy now. When spring arrived, I received news that he had been admitted to hospital, and I had the idea of writing to a few friends asking for their prayers. Then he was transferred to the intensive care unit, and I rushed back to Burundi, I found him suffering greatly. My brothers and sisters were doing everything they could for him. I thought about all the love he had for his children, the love that he showed to so many others, including those who had murdered our relatives. I remembered the Word of Life we were living: “For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away” (Mt. 13:12). And I remembered Jesus on the Cross.
On the day following my arrival Dad departed peacefully for Heaven. It was as if he had been waiting for me. Later as I was pondering over the words that the Archbishop had spoken during my father’s funeral – in which he recalled their conversations about reconciliation and peace – it was confirmed to me, as Chiara Lubich reminded us, that Heaven is a home we will live in up there, but that we build here on earth.”