After a difficult period, Francisco & Claire discovered that married life can be enjoyed to the full, and that the better their marriage, the better their children! Together, they say “yes” to what God has sown in their hearts.

Francisco & Claire RABENARIVO

CANA Madagascar national leaders

How can we experience something different together?

We got married in 2003, when we were already working together for a humanitarian association for children in great social difficulty, taking full responsibility for them in a reception center. We did this work with great enthusiasm and commitment. Then, at the same time, we started our own little family. But very quickly, our family life became so intertwined with life at the reception center that we forgot about ourselves, with a job that was very demanding. We were burdened with a lot of responsibility. Our relationship as a couple was slowly dying.

Fortunately, we made the firm decision to take part in a CANA Week in 2010. We met Jesus during that week. He opened our eyes to many things, including the fact that it’s possible to have a life other than “work”, that the Lord loves our relationship and that He has a plan for our lives! We also had a living experience of forgiveness! And it changed our lives completely. Immediately after the week, we felt really called to go further in this relationship with Jesus, and also to share around us the graces that the Lord has given us without counting the cost, despite our unworthiness. We felt called to evangelize couples and families. So we asked to join the CANA Fraternity.

And it’s in the CANA Fraternity that we’ve continued to grow, thanks to training courses, but also to inviting other couples to experience the CANA Week, and then a little later, the 1,2,3… CANA weekends.

Enjoying a fulfilling married life

Today, we are in charge of the CANA Mission in Madagascar. And for us, being on mission with CANA means responding to God’s call for our couple. That’s where our joy lies. The joy of helping other couples discover that married life can be enjoyed to the full. And that the Malagasy expression “fonenana no sisa”, or literally translated as “all we have left is common life” … is not what God wants for couples!

Indeed, our couple has the grace to be a solid couple because we put Jesus at the center of our relationship, and we also know that by God’s grace, we bear witness to our unity to the people we come into contact with. We love and respect each other deeply.

Our priority today is our family, and for us, family means the presence of God in us and in our home. And that brings us back to the source of all love, which is God! We live our call and say “yes” to the mission that God gives us to live and share, by being witnesses! So God’s mission becomes our priority! Glory be to Him! But when we go on mission, we don’t worry about our children, because we know that it’s God Himself who takes care of them! The better our marriage, the better our children.

And our 5 children are witnesses to God’s presence in our lives. We’re so grateful for all the graces the Lord pours out on them! They are radiant, wonderful children. They are truly gifts from God! Somewhere along the line, we tell ourselves that the Lord takes special care of them, because we ourselves serve God. In fact, we’ll never look after our children as well as God himself: He’s the Father of us all!

Our “yes” to be missionaries is a “yes” that God himself has sown in our hearts, and which we choose together to renew every day. Together.