It took years for Marie Louise Wambale to re-establish her life after fighting between M23 rebels and the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

in the country’s eastern region forced her to flee with almost nothing about a decade ago. Pope’s long-awaited visit to DRC and South Sudan where two of the world’s most neglected crises are ongoing.

Like most Catholics in the eastern DRC, she hoped that Pope Francis could bring a message of hope at a time when the rebels are posing their greatest threat here since 2012.

Now Wambale has been tasked with taking this message to the capital, Kinshasa, where she will be among the Congolese faithful chosen to meet Pope Francis.

His long-awaited visit to DRC and South Sudan this week comes after he postponed an earlier trip late last year that had originally included a stop in the volatile east for health reasons.

“It is clear to anybody that there is a danger. But the danger, I would say, even more than for the pope is for the people,” the Vatican’s ambassador to DRC

The security requirements to protect people at a papal mass would be hard under ordinary circumstances, but even more delicate in an already dangerous area like the east, he said.