Wednesday, April 1, 2009

From Hindu to Carmelite

As a convert from Hinduism myself, I am always interested in others' conversion stories, with a special interest in those from India. Today, while searching for information one of my children needed, I came across this wonderful story of a Carmelite nun who converted from Hindusim over three decades ago.

Now known as Sister Mary Joseph, she says that while teaching at a Canossian Sisters' school in Bombay,
"I felt an urgent and incessant calling to a meeting with Jesus, my love for Jesus began growing and I felt a deep desire to know him, love him and serve him."
And yet her path was not easy. Again quoting Sister:
"My family was completely shattered, I had brought shame and embarrassment on the family, my parents had to suffer humiliation from my relatives, being from a very traditional and high caste Brahmin Iyengar family, and now converting to Christianity was a very big blow to our family pride."
This is a very common attitude in India. I would say that many higher-caste Indians consider conversion to be a shameful thing. It is a fact that within India most converts to Christianity come from the lowest caste and "untouchables"; it is difficult to know whether this is the cause or the effect of upper-caste Hindus' tendency to look down on converts to Christianity.

Although my own background is similar to Sister Mary Joseph's, I was fortunate in that my family, unilike hers, took my conversion very well. I am glad to say that, eventually, her family came around as well.

I want to offer just one more quote, and encourage you to read the whole article.
I suffer and pray, my calling today is: "Vicariously suffering for the world." I enter deeply into the suffering with my prayer, my prayer for the persecuted Church, the moral and ethical issues in the world, the attacks against life, the youth, the snares of temptations for the youth like drugs, pornography and such evils that exist, the breaking up of the family and also marriage, these are my deepest sufferings and prayer.

This gives me great hope. Contemplative religious are our "secret weapon" in the battle for souls.

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