Laetitia Umulisa is among a few Rwandans who have been lucky to meet and shake the Pope’s hands.
It’s a blessing.
Umulisa had also the opportunity to spent 10 humbling minutes talking with the 266th and current Pope.
Pictures show Umulisa in Rome when she met Pope Francis on October 17 this year.
Umulisa handed the Pope a beautifully woven Rwandan basket in blue, green and yellow colors of the official Rwandan flag.
At 10:00am, on October 17, Umulisa a Catholic Christian and a member of Magi Parish, met Pope Francis on the invitation she had been offered by “Frauen-missionswerk’’, a German non-profit organization that helps vulnerable women.
Umulisa, the Founder of Itetero, a non-profit organization that helps rural poor women particularly in Gisagara District, told IGIHE that after she heard the news that she would meet the Pope, she felt as if it was a dream, and spent a long time thinking about the gift she would give to the Pope.
“I thought in my heart that as a Rwandan woman, I had to dress in a Rwandan traditional attire (imikenyero) and offer him something showing our country’s image. I gave him the basket with colors of the Rwandan flag and inside it, I put a letter with three wishes; requesting the Pope to pray for Rwanda and Rwandans,” she recounts.
Umulisa asked Pope Francis to pray for Rwanda to keep as a peaceful, coherent and developed country.
The second wish was to pray for the Rwandan woman to be characterized with love, commitment and hardwork and also to be a woman with values to help her build her family and nation.
The last wish Umulisa presented to the Pope is to do advocacy for the private Organization ‘Itetero’ she founded to help vulnerable women living in rural areas.
During her visit in Vatican, Umulisa was with three other Germans who were also given 10 minutes to talk to the Pope.
“When the Pope turned up to me, I told him that I am Rwandan and as I explained to him that the colors on the basket I gave him make the Rwandan flag, he was pleased. I asked him ‘Do you remember Kibeho, where the Holy Mary appeared, is located in Rwanda?’ ‘I know that,’ replied the Pope. I wish you would visit Rwanda,’’’ Umulisa narrates.
On visiting Rwanda, Umulisa says that the Pope answered, “I do think about it dear daughter.”
The Pope handed Umulisa a rosary and counseled her to always ask the Holy Mary to intercede for her.
Umulisa says that she left Vatican full of joy because she hopes that in the near future, the Pope will visit Rwanda.
Another thing is that the Pope assured her to do advocacy for her organization, Itetero, to get the support that will enable it to achieve its goal of helping the poor.