Being a Missionary

In his morning tweet earlier this week, Pope Francis thanked missionaries who “quietly work hard”:

I thank all missionaries, men and women who quietly work hard for the Lord and their brothers and sisters.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 4, 2013

His tweet got me thinking about the question, “Am I a missionary?” When you look up the definition of the word “missionary”, you find the following:

Missionary: a person who is sent to a foreign country to do religious work (such as to convince people to join a religion or to help people who are sick, poor, etc.)

I’d venture to say that I know many modern-day missionaries, most of whom will never travel to a foreign country. I immediately think of three moms I know from my own home-town who are the heart and soul of Catholic Charities in my community. I think of my friend Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, who has inspired so many of us to employ technology to share our faith in new and exciting ways. I think of the faith-filled college students I know who live out their beliefs in a climate that can be sometimes hostile to anything having to do with religion.

In reality, each of us are called to be missionaries in our own little corners of the world. But I’d like to remind myself of the core of what strikes me about this papal tweet, that “quietly work hard” part.

  • How many times do I act in an evangelical fashion and hope to be recognized for it?
  • How many times do a I shy away from a simple act of service because it doesn’t fit my agenda for the day?
  • How many times do I turn my back on a chance to share my faith because I’m afraid of what the other party might think of me?

Having just spent a week in the company of true missionaries in Rwanda, I’m motivated to step up my game. My mission field is closer to home than theirs is, but no less critical to helping to save souls and to serve those in need.

Time to get to work, quietly.

A Prayer for Missionaries

O almighty God, Lord of the harvest of souls, we ask You to guide and bless all who have gone forth to preach the gospel. Endow them with the gifts of generosity and concern. Send your Holy Spirit on them, that He may strengthen them in weakness, comfort them in trials and direct their efforts. May He open the hearts of their hearers to receive Your message. Let Your revelation enlighten all minds for the salvation of souls, and let Your love heal every heart and body for the happiness of each person. May all people consciously acknowledge You and serve You by living the teachings of Your Son. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A question for you: Would you call yourself a missionary?

Copyright © 2013, Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at

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