The Hindu who became a cloistered nun

Sr Radha Krishnan Iver (Crux)

Conversion stories abound in Christian literature. The modern conversion story is less well known, especially in places not associated in the Western mind with Christianity, reports Crux.

India is an enormous country and there are millions of Christians, though they remain a small minority in an overwhelmingly Hindu nation.

That’s one of the reasons the story of Radha Krishnan Iyer is so compelling, as she is someone who was a member of the Brahmin caste, the highest category in the traditional Indian system.

As a Brahmin, she grew up with certain expectations of what she would do and whom she would marry. Yet she defied them all, not only converting to Catholicism but also entering a convent. She willingly chose to go from the highest echelon of society to the lowest, all for the love of God.

Iyer was born in 1948. As someone from a reasonably well off family she went to Catholic school and thus had many Catholic friends. She said that she “would visit the Basilica of Mount Mary’s Bandra for the Feast and the fair. The beautiful church with the great masses of people thronging, it touched me deeply.”

After secondary school she attended St. Xavier’s College, a Jesuit school, and on the Feast of St Francis Xavier she attended a Mass for the first time.

She said that “the beautiful singing, and the communitarian worship, touched my heart. Everyone, sat, stood and knelt together. It was a wonderful experience ... By my third year in college, I developed a great interest in Christianity, and became a regular Mass-goer.”

On March 23, 1971, she finished her last paper for her degree, and two days later she was baptised in secret on the feast of the Annunciation. She took the name Radha Maria Krishnan, and said, “God gave me the grace to join the Canossian Daughters of Charity.”

She is now celebrating 40 years in the Carmelite monastery of cloistered nuns, which she joined in 1977. She did, she said, because “God saw my desire for greater knowledge and deeper experience of Christianity and gave me the grace to join the Carmelite cloistered nuns.”


High-caste Hindu who became a nun embodies conversion story (Crux)


21 years old and entering a cloistered convent (Aleteia)

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