Family Missions Company’s story begins almost 40 years ago, in the small southern town of Abbeville, Louisiana. Frank Summers, a young, successful attorney, and his beautiful wife Genie, an up and coming journalist, had achieved a great degree of financial and social success in their hometown. Together with their only child, Beau, they embraced a completely secular lifestyle. It wasn’t until their marriage seemed headed for certain divorce, that they experienced a profound conversion, returned to their Catholic roots, and began seeking God’s will for their lives in earnest.
After spending some time evangelizing in Abbeville, they felt called to sell all that they had and go out as a family into foreign missions, to “proclaim the Gospel to every creature”! At that time, they struggled to find any support or structure to help Catholic families become missionaries. Following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, they embraced lives of poverty and zeal for the Gospel, travelling as missionaries all over the world. As their family grew, they served in Tonga, American Samoa, Mexico, Columbia, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, and Micronesia. God blessed them with 6 more children, and they experienced the joy of witnessing together as a Catholic family.
When in 1995, God called the Summers back to the United States, they discerned that there was a great need in the Church for more Catholic families and singles to give their lives to mission. They also knew that those who are called to be missionaries need preparation and support, and they knew that God was calling them to draw upon their many years of experience to help others to give their lives to mission. The fruit of this call is Family Missions Company. Frank and Genie founded FMC as a Catholic nonprofit organization based in Abbeville, and began the work of forming and sustaining lay missionaries.
Since our foundation, FMC has helped hundreds of families and singles to answer the call to give their lives completely to Jesus as lay foreign missionaries. In obedience to the Holy Spirit, we imitate Christ, follow the teachings of the Church, and are enriched by the wisdom and example of our founders – Frank and Genie. As Frank writes, “We are an organized apostolate of Catholic laity dedicated to missionary evangelism. Jesus has called us to proclaim His Gospel to all creation, to the ends of the earth. Each of us is called to holiness of life. We find our ‘rule’ for life in the teachings of the New Testament. As missionaries, we are called to live God’s Word as Jesus did, to proclaim it boldly to others, to work it into the fabric of human society and culture, to extend God’s love to all, especially to the oppressed and suffering poor. We accept our daily crosses and redemptive sufferings, in poverty, humility, and a sometimes hidden life. We are a people of praise, thanksgiving, and rejoicing, really happy to be among those sent out by the Lord.”