Tamil mother regains faith in God through Mother Teresa
by Melani Manel Perera

Patricia converted to Hinduism to marry the man she loved. But because of this "self-imposed love” she “denied God’s love". After her husband’s death, she was left alone with three children. Welcomed by the Missionaries of Charity, she recently went to confession and received the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – The Missionaries of Mother Teresa " are the only ones who have comforted, forgiven and accepted me back into the Catholic Church,” Patricia Kilominda told AsiaNews.

The Tamil mother of 48 left her faith and rejected the love of Jesus Christ when she met her Hindu husband. Her biggest mistake, she said, “is that I praised my husband as my God. But when he died I was left alone, no one wanted to help me. My life became depressing. Only the sisters of Mother Teresa listened to my pain."

In telling her life story, full of suffering and pain, Patricia found fulfilment again when she met God through the Missionaries of Charity.

She is originally from Negombo, about 30 kilometres away from the capital of Sri Lanka. Her mother was Catholic, from Mannar (northern province of the country), whilst her father was Hindu, director of a company, and born in India.

When civil war broke out in 1983, Patricia and her family were forced to flee to India, to Rameshwaran (in Tamil Nadu), where she began to study. There she met a young man from Batticaloa, who also had been forced to flee. The two fell in love and started a relationship. Patricia's family, and in particular one of her two brothers, opposed the bond because the young man was Hindu.

In 1989 the family returned to Sri Lanka and settled in Mannar, her mother’s home town. At that time, her brother arranged her a marriage but she refused to marry a man she did not love.

A week before the wedding, Patricia received a postcard from her Hindu boyfriend and fled to Colombo, where he had moved. Together they went to Batticaloa and she decided to send a letter to her family explaining that she would not return home.

At that point, Patricia said that the young man’s parents consented to the wedding on one condition, that she convert to Hinduism. Blinded by a love that she had idealised, she agreed and went through what she described as an "artificial" conversion.

"I studied Hinduism for six months,” she said, “then there was a simple ceremony. Later I married and moved to Colombo."

Years went by and Patricia found out that her family had burnt all of her belongings, including her identity card and birth certificate, and moved back to India.

Like her own kin, her husband’s relatives turned their backs when he died. "I was a good Catholic but I left God to give priority to a self-imposed love,” she said.

Alone with three children, she struggled on for three years facing a number of problems. Until on day, four months ago, as she regretted having abandoned God and tormented herself for her mistake, she met the Sisters of Mother Teresa. "I am sure it was the mother who wanted this meeting," she said.

The missionaries listened to her story and welcomed her and her children at Shanthi Niwasa, the Institute of the Sisters in Colombo. They helped her find a job and rebuild their lives. Above all, "they offered me a new chance to return to the true Christian life".

"In addition to activities for the canonisation of Mother Teresa, we have prepared a spiritual journey to welcome a new Patricia back in the Church," said Sister M. Johannes, the regional superior.

Twenty-seven years after leaving the faith, Patricia went to confession again and received the sacrament of the Eucharist on 23 August. Along with the sisters she went to the shrine of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatte to receive Mary’s blessing.

The meeting with the sisters brought new joy in Patricia’s life. She now shares it with her children, whom she hopes one day will discover the faith.

To AsiaNews, she says: "Never abandon Jesus Christ, the one who gave his life for us."