03/25/2021, 14.22
INDIA
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Nun born into Brahmin family celebrates 50 years since her baptism

by Nirmala Carvalho

The Carmelite Monastery in Mumbai celebrated Sister Mary Joseph Radha. She was baptised in secret in the archbishopric’s chapel after encountering Christianity in school. “Among millions of people Jesus chose me to become Catholic,” she said, “and now, 50 years later, my heart is filled with gratitude”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Today, Feast of the Annunciation, the Carmelite Monastery in Mumbai celebrated the 50th anniversary of the baptism of Sister Mary Joseph (Radha), a woman religious born and raised in a Hindu brahmin family.

On 25 March 1971, Father Agnelo Gracias, the current Auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai, secretly baptised her in the Archbishopric’s chapel.

Born in 1948 as Krishnan Iyer, Sister Mary attended a Catholic school and had many Catholic friends.

“I was visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount in Bandra during celebrations. Seeing that beautiful church and the great multitude of people touched me deeply,” she said, speaking to AsiaNews.

At St Xavier's College, a Jesuit school, she went to her first Mass on the feast day of St Francis Xavier. She remembers the “beautiful singing and the communitarian worship touched my heart’” she said. “Everyone sat, stood and knelt together. It was a wonderful experience.”

Later, “By my third year in college, I developed a great interest in Christianity and became a regular mass goer.”

Two days after completing her last paper for her degree, on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1971 she was secretly baptised with her chosen names of Radha Maria Krishnan.

“I wore a white sari with a small black print on the border because white sarees are not usually worn. I told my family I was going to friends' house; I was 23. With me were my godparents, schoolmates and six Canossian nuns.”

“That day marked my life. Becoming a Christian was the best gift in my life. Of all the millions of people Jesus chose me to become Catholic and now, 50 years later, my heart is filled with gratitude.”

With the baptism also came the calling to the religious life, initially among the Canossian Daughters of Charity. Then, in 1977, she joined the cloistered Carmelite monastery.

“God saw my desire for an even deeper knowledge of the Christian experience and he gave me this grace,” Sister May explained.

Her three brothers and one sister (who passed away recently) accepted her choice and are happy with their families, all Hindu.

On the 50th anniversary of her baptism, the Carmelites interrupted their strict observance of the Lenten fast for one day. After a Thanksgiving Mass they celebrated at breakfast with sweet buns, chocolate and fruit.

“The Golden jubilee of Baptism of our dear Sister Mary Joseph (Radha) today,” writes the Prioress of Carmel, Sister Nina, is “a great day indeed for all of us, nay the entire Church.

“Together with Mary's 'yes', we celebrate our Sister's 'yes'. As we bow before the awesome mystery of ' the Word become flesh'.”

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