I am a work in progress
Sabitha, embraced Catholicism late. She shares with Raifiel Cyril about how God has been more faithful to her than she has to Him
Sabitha grew up as Sabida Radhakrishnan. Her father is a Hindu and mother is a Latin Catholic. She has a younger sister, Sarika. Her father wasn’t very religious and followed the teachings of MK Gandhi. Daily, before going to school, Sabitha would go to the temple. She wasn’t a practicing Christian and only saw bits and pieces of it when she visited her maternal family. So, then, what inspired her to embrace Christianity? Let’s find out.
After being brought up in a Hindu Family, what prompted you to convert to Catholicism?
I was working in Bangalore where I met my future husband, Shijo. When he moved to Thailand for work, we spoke about getting married. However, his family was very orthodox and his brother suggested that I get baptised. That’s when I started to consider it.
I would visit St Mary’s basilica in the morning and attend evening mass. On Thursdays, I used to go to the Infant Jesus church. During one of the Thursday visits, they were singing, ‘Orma veccha naal muthal’ (I have known you from forever), and listening to that, I broke down. As I knelt down during communion, I wept as I could not receive Him.
Shijo had asked me to go to Divine retreat centre in Potta. I went there during the Easter week but not with much expectation. During adoration, they spoke about forgiveness and I remembered a person I had to forgive. In my heart I forgave him. That moment the priest announced, ‘Sabida, your sins are forgiven.’ I couldn’t believe what I just heard. Next day was confession. Since I couldn’t go, I went for counselling. A sister prayed for me and gave me the verse Jeremiah 29:11. During the time of benediction, I looked at the blessed sacrament and said, ‘I really need you Lord and next time I come here, I will receive you.
If it wasn’t for Christ, I
would have always been
asking for healing. But
I believe God has given
me the strength to go
through these illnesses
’ Two days later, I went for mass and expressed my desire to get converted, to the parish priest. He was very supportive and promised to move things fast. He also asked me to come and meet a sister who will prepare me. My father was very supportive of my decision. After baptism, I took on the name Sabitha which means ‘beautiful sunshine.’ And I received the Lord for the first time in 25 years.
What is life like after becoming a Christian?
I have always asked questions and tried to learn more since I came into faith so late in life. I have also really had to leave a lot of cultures and traditions behind. I had to really mould myself and undergo pain until Christ began to be formed in me. And of course, I am a work in progress. I am really happy being a Christian.
You’ve struggled with a lot of health issues. How does your faith impact your attitude to them?
I’ve had a few health problems. Earlier, I didn’t know I could offer my pains. I learnt from saints like St. Alphonsa and St. Therese of Lisieux. They didn’t go anywhere yet became powerful missionaries. I started receiving it for the love of Christ. I always meditate on the cross of Christ. If it wasn’t for Christ, I would have always been asking for healing. But I believe God has given me the strength to go through these illnesses joyfully. Mother Mary has also been my ‘on call’ person. An ever-present help.
What do you feel about God’s faithfulness to you?
God has been more faithful to me than I have to Him. I have failed in so many ways but I always sense Him running to me much before I even take the first step. God has also shown His explicit faithfulness in my life by blessing me with Shijo who mentored me and led me to Him.
What do you feel about those who are born Catholics?
When I see my extended family members, though they are born Catholics, I know that no one has had a personal encounter. There is a huge difference in the two. I learnt about the new life in Christ through Jesus Youth. It was here that I understood the difference between religion and spirituality. From public and family prayers, I started spending time with the Word and in prayer in private.
What about your family now?
My sister also converted and married a Catholic. I am really grateful to my father’s support all through. He stood by us and even went to the extent of changing his name for us. Today, Sabitha is happily settled with her husband and two sons in Melbourne, Australia.