The Gospel of nonviolence has been one of the strong pillars that support my life as a Christian, a life that has also been marked by domestic violence. All that I undertake finds its inspiration in my faith as a Christian. I have been fortunate to bring hope and peace to the lives of many people that I have met in my work of building peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. And I have in turn been touched by the lives of so many. For instance, I met a woman in Rwanda during a workshop on the topic of forgiveness and reconciliation. She told me that she had lost her husband in the war in Congo and still carried a great hatred against the Congolese for what had happened. She kept a gun that belonged to her husband and was waiting for the right moment to take out her vengeance of any Congolese that she could find. I listened to her story without interruption, after which she threw herself into my arms and cried for a very long time. Later I met her again, this time in Burundi. She told me that she has now understood that to live without violence is a distinct choice. She tells her children to forgive the Congolese. She has destroyed the gun that she had kept hidden away. And she has taken up again her contacts with her friends in the Congo. Today she is happy and open to life.
Marie Louise Baligizi is the coordinator of Pax Christi Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
(Great Lakes Region)
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