Unshakeable Trust, Unwavering Service

Editors’ note: In the September 2022 issue of ONE, Anubha George takes us within the walls of two convents in India, where young women are being formed for the life of a religious sister — a life of prayer, humility and strength — to serve the church’s foot soldiers in challenging contexts. All of the women have different reasons for entering religious life, which Anubha explores in her feature article, “Seeking Christ, Serving Christ.” Listen to her impressions of her visit and how she was touched by the sisters’ witness to simple yet complete trust in Christ in this audio report. A full transcript follows.

Becoming a sister or a nun, devoting yourself to religious life isn’t easy, but I never realized just how much time it takes from joining a congregation to coming out the other side as a sister. Well, nearly 10 to 12 years in case you’re wondering. 

The path of religious life or formation is a life devoted to Christ. We had a glimpse of it when we visited two congregations in Kerala: the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Martha in Thrissur, part of the Syro-Malabar Church, and the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary in Thiruvananthapuram, part of the Syro-Malankara Church. The sisters here were so honest about their faith — something that’s close to my heart.

I always like to explore what an individual’s faith means to them, simply because it’s something special to each one of us. Every single one of us has experienced faith differently. The sisters at both these congregations have what can only be described as an unshakeable, absolute trust in Christ in his Sacred Heart.

Let me tell you a simple story. We met Sister Susanna, a junior sister. She’s from Tamil Nadu, but spending a year in Kerala. She said whenever she feels like eating ice cream or having a chocolate, she asks Christ. In convents, usually, life is simple and meager, but whenever Sister Susanna asks for a sweet treat, she said she somehow gets it.

Either a visitor comes bearing chocolates or sisters, who may have ventured outside, come back with ice cream. I was so touched by Sister Susanna’s innocence and the trust she has, that if she asks with the pure and prayerful heart, she will get. 

On a more practical note, convents in Kerala have seen the number of young women wanting to be sisters decline. This is mainly due to nuclear families where couples choose not to have more than two children. It’s also because of the phenomenal growth of technology and social media. Young people in Kerala these days like to spend their time on smartphones, rather than going to church or spending time with family or praying or reading the Bible.

The road ahead is challenging. But as Sister Susanna said, for things to fall into place, for everything to work out, we need to have a stable relationship with Christ. He never lets us down. We just have to believe.

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