Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Elisabeth Liebert


The long-lasting interethnic conflicts and violence that marked the history of Rwanda, and the genocide that followed in 1994, damaged the social fabric of Rwandans, which is the core characteristic of their humanity. All Rwandans, regardless of their ethnic affiliations, have suffered, and their wounds are still deep and fresh. Twenty-six years since the genocide took place, different strategies of reconciliation have been employed by both the government of Rwanda and the Church. However, those strategies have not given satisfactory results as, today, many Rwandans cry over their unhealed wounds and longing for authentic reconciliation, which may wave their social fabric and bring about the harmony in their relations.

This study explores in which ways Rwandans can transcend the interethnic divisions and conflicts, experience healing of their broken humanity, and embrace reconciliation as a way of reconstructing unity and communion among them. There will be no authentic reconciliation without the restoration of people’s humanity damaged by the genocide and other violence, which have not been termed genocide. What then ought to be done for the restoration of Rwandans’ humanity and bring about authentic reconciliation? The study seeks conforming answers to this question. In doing so, the study offers the Christian reconciliation, through Ignatian Spirituality, as a potential tool that Rwandans need for authentic healing and reconciliation. Spiritual experience resulting from the Spiritual Exercises can restore the damaged humanity of both the victims and wrongdoers and be the source of genuine reconciliation. By experiencing God’s healing love through the Spiritual Exercises, people can more readily experience inner freedom with respect to their wounds, which may in turn lead them to reconcile with their history. Once healed, and freed interiorly, they may then expand God’s love to others, even ones they consider ‘wrongdoers’ or ‘enemies.’ Hence, over time, an authentic relationship will take place since the relationship with God would be the guiding principle of all the relationships among the Rwandans.

SCU Access Only

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