Missionary life is no longer a vocation for just priests and religious, but also for married couples. This is the case of Romain and Reina. She grew up in the favelas of Brazil. And he met her there. They got married and dedicated their lives to serving the poor.
They created the Misericordia Foundation, where they build structures like this in poor neighborhoods. They organize workshops, activities and catechesis for people in need.
ROMAIN DE CHATEAUVIEUX
Founder, Misericordia Foundation
In 2013, when the Pope said “mercy changes the world. It makes it more fair and less cold.” For us, our hearts were impacted and we wanted to respond to this invitation to be merciful to the world and especially to the poor as a family.
Hearing of their mission, Pope Francis expressed his interest in meeting the family. They were able to meet with him at the end of a General Audience and later at the Pope's residence in Casa Santa Marta.
David Hickson and his wife also have a missionary story. It began in 2002 when he went Pope John Paul II's last World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada.
Just thinking about it makes me cry, just because it was such a powerful experience to see him in person, to see him as old as he was. All the news leading up to it was just saying that he was too old and that no youth would want to see an old Pope like that. But the numbers just kept going up and up and when he got there, everyone singing “JP2 we love you!” and he is tapping his cane and saying “JP2 loves you too.”
Something happened there in my heart and in my faith that just set it on a trajectory.
In 2011, David traveled to World Youth Day in Madrid. There, he decided to become a lay missionary.
After working with young people, David traveled to World Youth Day Poland in 2016 with a group of 200 students, his wife and two-month-old daughter.
People thought we were pretty crazy going and living the missionary/pilgrim life, but Therese—it's my daughter's name—and she just was loved and by so many. I think she's probably blessed by over 20 bishops and hundreds of priests and held by hundreds of people.
David works with FOCUS or the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. He helps prepare young people to live their World Youth Day experiences fully.
He says World Youth Day in Lisbon will be another opportunity to help young people to deepen their faith.