Sister Jess Mary, or former Gayatri Devi, is a testimony to the world that Christian faith is beyond explanations. It is unexpected that Gayatri, who lived in a non-Christian community and practiced non-christian rituals, found Jesus. Gayatri, a native of Edappally, had to endure much suffering because of the ‘prediction’ that her home would be destroyed by poverty due to her horrendous misfortune.
The isolation from relatives and the home and neglect by everyone brought Gayatri into a special enlightenment. Later, they sold their houses in Edappally and moved into a rented house in another place. The relocation was based on the hope of a new life in the new place. But there were still unrest. When a Latin family who lived in a nearby neighborhood praised and prayed in the name of Jesus, Gayatri’s mind grew increasingly angry and hostile to God.
“Do your God only hear the call if its aloud?” She approached the family with questions. “Go to the Divine Retreat Centre and meditate for a week. If you pray, you will get answers,” they answered. This response was later reversed. She informed her parents why she wanted to go to meditation, raising the question of what could happen in a week. Their first response was fierce opposition.
But slowly they let loose. She was sent to the Divine Retreat Centre. The fourth day became crucial for the Gayatri’s life as she spent her first three days sleeping and eating. During the meditation process she heard a voice saying, “I want you, Gayatri. You are mine.” At this time the scenes in her mind were the torments of Jesus. The words of the God, who was ostracized by everyone, had little hope for the words. This was changing her. During the last two days of meditation, she came to know Jesus. An attempt was made to understand the meaning of the Word. From that time on, she started talking to Jesus as a friendly conversation. She called Eisoye ‘Vallyetta’ (Big Brother).
The change in Gayatri’s life when she returned home surprised everyone. She was amazed by the restraint, calmness and prayer she displayed, even in the midst of sarcasm and hurt. It’s not too late. Gayatri informed her parents of her need – “I want to receive baptism”. Parents came forward with fierce opposition at first, baut later obliged. She was baptized at St. Xavier’s Church, Ponapara, Edappally.
She finds great joy in the joys of life, thus decided to enter the monastic life while she worked as a pharmacist. She was worried about which congregation to join. But as she prayed on the subject, her mind was filled with the thought of the Sisters of the Suffering Society of the destitute. She approached her mother, telling her that she was giving up everything for Christ with this desire.
The subject was told only after selling all the gold that was in her hand and turning it into a garland and handing it over to her mother. Tears flowed down from the mother’s eyes stunned at the decision. Comforting her mother, Jess Marie posed a question, “Is it good or bad for the mother’s daughter to live happily with Jesus, or to be sad?”. “I want to be happy where my daughter is,” the mother replied. Her father initially objected but later she sent her to the convent and blessed his daughter. Significantly, three months before the Sister’s first solemn promise, her parents and brother entered the Christian faith. Gayatri’s Bible and prayer books, which she brought from the Divine Retreat Centre, have greatly influenced her and her life.
Sister Jess Marie is in her final year nursing study at Bishop Allapattu Mission Hospital today. In her spare time, Sister enjoys spending time with the sisters of the saintly community of the SD monastery. The journey from Gayatri Devi to Sister Jess Marie was not easy and she could not be happier than living for Christ. This young monk is trying to bring Christ to many people in the days ahead.