Kibeho, Rwanda Pilgrimage

with Immaculée Ilibagiza and Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR ’89


Join Immaculee Ilibagiza and Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR ’89 in experiencing the blessings and beauty of Kibeho, Rwanda. This rural community is the site of the only Vatican-approved Marian apparition site on the African continent. Nestled in the hills of Rwanda, this pristine and serene location is unlike any other place of worship on Earth. In addition to spending multiple days in Kibeho, Immaculee has arranged spiritual, historical, and cultural experiences only a Rwandan can provide. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


What to expect:

  • Exceptional Rwandan hospitality, amenities, and cuisine at Blue Veil Villas: a four-star, private hotel entirely reserved for our Franciscan University of Steubenville pilgrims.
  • Daily group discussions led by Immaculee regarding Our Lady of Kibeho, Rwanda, and the 1994 genocide.
  • Group and private prayer at the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho. Kibeho is the only Vatican-approved Marian apparition site in Africa.
  • Daily Mass celebration with Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR ’89
  • Rwandan cultural experiences arranged by Immaculee.
  • Exclusive access to various sites, including Immaculee’s childhood home in Kibuye, along the shores of Lake Kivu.
  • A day on safari in Rwanda’s premiere national park, Akagera. This park is home to most of the Africa’s greatest animals, including the Big Five.


This pilgrimage package includes:

  • Round-trip airfare to Kigali, Rwanda*
  • All lodging, meals, location fees and ground transportation while in Rwanda
  • Safari in Akagera National Park

*Group flight on Delta/KLM departs JFK Airport on Sat, March 15 at 6:50pm and arrives back into JFK on Tues. March 25 at 3:35pm.  All reservations are Economy Class, and do not include connecting domestic flights to/from JFK Airport or the $60 tourist visa secured/paid upon arrival into Kigali Airport.


Immaculée Ilibagiza

Immaculée Ilibagiza is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide whose ministry focuses on the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation in the work of personal and cultural transformation. Once freed, she was able to secure a job with the United Nations and immigrate to the United States. She began to share her story with world dignitaries, school children, multinational corporations, churches, and numerous conferences. She also wrote four books, most popularly, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, a New York Times bestseller. Ilibagiza has received honorary doctoral degrees from The University of Notre Dame, Saint John's University, Seton Hall University, Siena College and Walsh University. She has been recognized and honored with numerous humanitarian awards including the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace 2007 and the American Legacy's Women of Strength & Courage Award.

Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR ’89

Spiritual Leader

A solemnly professed member of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Province of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance, Father Dave Pivonka, TOR ’89, was ordained to the priesthood in 1996, and in May 2019, was elected president of Franciscan University of Steubenville. The first Franciscan University alumnus to assume the school’s top pastoral leadership role, Father Pivonka has also served for more than thirty years as a spiritual director, retreat leader, and formation director. As director of Franciscan Pathways, an evangelistic outreach of his Franciscan, TOR, community, and in association with 4PM Media, he hosted and produced The Wild Goose video series on developing a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit, a documentary on St. Francis of Assisi titled Sign of Contradiction, and Metanoia, a 2019 video series on conversion.


Our lives can become very busy. That busyness can overwhelm us, and often times, we need to intentionally set aside time to quiet our hearts and turn our attention to God.

On a Catholic pilgrimage, you will not only experience a silence and atmosphere helpful for prayer, but you will travel in community, guided by spiritual leaders and supported by fellow pilgrims.

We invite you to join the Franciscan University community as we embark on a pilgrimage of faith!