Burundi is a country with 60% Catholics. It is made up of two ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi. This country was united with Rwanda during the period of the Belgian occupation.
Evangelization began in 1879, with no significant results at first. After the missionary movement adopted a new Marian tone between 1922 and 1937, Burundi experienced phenomenal mass conversions, something unique in the history of missions.
A Pilgrim Virgin Mary statue traveling from village to village, accompanied by dances and fervent Rosaries, was a common sight in those days.
The Legion of Mary Movement, introduced in 1948, developed quickly.
As Burundi and Rwanda gained national independence in 1962, settling of old scores and conflict between Hutus and Tutsis soon began.
It was in the midst of this very tense situation that the Virgin Mary appeared in Kibeho, Rwanda, in November 1981, to six young girls and a young pagan boy.
The “apparition" made an urgent appeal to conversion, warning that the world is full of hatred. The seers had premonitory visions of the subsequent tragic events, which sadly came to pass in both countries with much bloodshed between 1990 and 1995.
Public worship has been authorized in Kibeho, the site of apparitions, since August 15, 1988.
In the same period, another Marian apparition took place in Mushashah, Burundi (Diocese of Gitega), in 1984.