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Rwandan couple killed in the 1994 genocide could be beatified


For almost 20 years of marriage, Cyprien and Daphrose' relationship was on the verge of collapse.

He was an artist, poet and scholar of Rwandan culture who had great success in the 1960s and 1970s. But he was unfaithful to his wife with several other women, and he even had a child with one of them. On one occasion he even disowned Daphrose, and threw her out of the house because he believed the rumors spread by their neighbors that said she was a witch.

WALDERY HILGEMAN
Postulator of the cause of beatification
"He told her to pack her bags, and without further explanation he returned her to her family. And this was something very hurtful at that time, a very serious offense. Then, little by little, he understood that these accusations were false, that they made no sense, and he went back to his wife."

Daphrose was a practicing Catholic with extreme patience. She never left her husband despite how much he made her suffer.

WALDERY HILGEMAN
Postulator of the cause of beatification
"Daphrose always stood by her husband, in silence and suffering. She was a woman of deep faith. In fact, she welcomed the daughter Cyprien had had with another woman as her own."

Everything changed when Cyprien suffered from a serious and mysterious illness, which doctors couldn't diagnose. The year was 1982 when the unexpected happened.

WALDERY HILGEMAN
Postulator of the cause of beatification
"It happened during a trip to Belgium, where he went for medical tests. During the flight he had a very strong faith experience. He was reading the text of a song he composed, when he understood the role of God in his life. When he arrived in Belgium all the symptoms he was suffering from disappeared."

Cyprien converted to Christianity and made a radical change in his relationship with his wife. In the late 1980s they both joined the missionary-focused Emmanuel Community. 

Cyprien began to promote unity among different ethnic groups in Rwanda, at a time when such an idea was not acceptable. 

WALDERY HILGEMAN
Postulator of the cause of beatification
"He didn't have a political party or political leanings. He said he belonged to the party of love, to the party of Christ. And for this reason, Cyprien did not join any of the political currents in his country. And this had serious consequences in his life. He lost his prestigious position as director of the research institute of local culture."

He lost his job and then his life during the genocide of 1994. On April 7, gunmen entered the garden of his house and shot him with Daphrose and six of their children.

They were not killed for belonging to a tribe, but for being Christians and promoting fraternity. 

The soldiers put an end to the lives of Cyprien and Daphrose, and with them, to an intense story of love, forgiveness and faith.

JRB

TR: JM