I am Sr Kowsalya, born into a Hindu family, in a small village in the southern part of India. Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world with over 33 million gods. At home, I prayed to multiple gods. I felt an emptiness and meaninglessness in my life. I was on a quest to know the true God. I had many questions about the existence of many gods, the true God, the meaning and fulfillment of life.
I was disturbed and perplexed with these questions and I wanted to know the truth. I searched the face of God in the idols, stones, pillars and trees in the temples. I sought meaning and fulfillment in life through my achievements. I was disappointed and at times I wept. I try to find out who is the real God by praying to different gods in turn. I found that whenever I prayed to Jesus, I received immediate answer and I was happy. Yet I didn’t want to give up my religion and traditions. I argued with Christians to prove that other gods are also true, real and powerful.
I was educated in Christian schools. I was inspired by the life of India’s Freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi who was strongly influenced by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and made it his way of life. I wanted to know what the Bible tells about God. God spoke to me through His Word. It was amazing to know the tremendous sacrificial love of God. I realized that the Bible is the Word of God. God came down from heaven to earth in order to save us, to die for us. Jesus Christ died bearing our sins to reconcile us to God. I believed in the great love of God, which led me to give myself totally to God and to become a religious.
My parents and family members were not happy about my change of heart and my resolve to embrace another religion; they opposed it and did not allow me to join the religious life. I asked the Lord for a sign in order to discern His will if I was called to religious life, and this sign being that all my family members give me their consent. The situation became tense but God made a way where there was no way. In spite of their disapproval, my Parents and the siblings allowed me to join religious life realizing that it was a call from God.
The family of Sr Lidwin, FMM of Ooty province was well known to my father. With her as contact I joined the FMM in Ooty. I undertook a year of preparation for the Catholic faith and I received the Sacraments of Baptism, first Holy Communion and Confirmation. Since then, Jesus, the Word of God, has become my source of strength in all situations in my life.
I thank God for bringing me to the FMM family. The life of Bl.Mary of the Passion and that of Bl. Maria Assunta inspire me to lead a holy life and to keep God as the centre of my life. I was blessed to have a missionary experience in the Philippines. It helped me to enter more deeply into the love of God and to grow in the experience of faith.
Now, as an educator in a school in Chennai, I am glad to serve the students who have not yet known the Christ. I consider it a blessing to be able to carry the Gospel to them. My desire is to run the race to the end holding the light, the Charism given to me.
I believe that “He who began a good work in you (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Sr Mary Kowsalya, FMM
Chennai Province, India