For a brief moment, they had time to share their stories with Pope Francis. They are a victim and an ex-guerillia fighter from Colombia, who arrived together to the Vatican to show the power of forgiveness.
"I forgave those who took my family away from me. I have forgiven those who once broke my spirit, my soul to its lowest point, through the humiliation of kidnapping. And I learned that , like the disciple who asked Jesus, 'Should I forgive 7 times?' Christ said: 'Even up to 70 times 7'. So I must be willing with an open heart, humble and humbled to understand that if God forgave me, then it is my duty to forgive others".
For two years, Regis was part of an armed rebel group in Colombia, at a time when force and violence was the norm. Today he says that he has found peace again thanks to asking for forgiveness and forgiving himself.
"When one asks for forgiveness, it takes a load off your shoulders. You let go of so many things and when someone forgives us or when you forgive someone, you feel like you're giving them a second chance.”
For them, seeing the Pope was an unforgettable experience. Pope Francis told them to pray for Colombia. He asked them to continue working for peace. They also invited him to visit their country.
"Spiritually, Colombia needs to know that the supreme authority of the Catholic Church prays for our country, for peace in our nation. Permanently, constantly, according to his words.”
"We invited him to the country because we really need leaders like him so that Colombians open their hearts and can forgive and reconcile."
Regis and Sandra work with the Colombian Agency for Reintegration, which has helped more than 30,000 people leave a life marked by violence and rebel groups to leave that life behind and open a new chapter in their lives.