“And, when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”, (The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho). It’s absolutely true. I’m a product of the Novena devotions to Our Mother of Perpetual Help and brought up by the people of God.

I studied electronics engineering and used to work as a front line developer for close to a decade. I was earning a good salary and I got to explore my passion for computer programming languages. But surprisingly, I was being led to something more. I felt a calling to the religious life. This is where my life’s journey turned from software to Godware.

Antony (2nd from the left), together with Redemptorist Fathers: Fr Gerard Louis, Fr Terence Wee and Fr Francis Vijayan

Like most devotees at Novena Church, I used to stand along the grill doors of our old Novena church and pray to Jesus through our Blessed Mother most of the Saturdays. I received consolation, guidance and the love of God through Mother Mary.

My discernment journey began on one Novena Saturday. While praying on various choices in life such as marriage, single lay vocation, Diocesan priesthood and Religious, they all looked appealing with their respective challenges and pathways. Over time God led me to a beautiful understanding and discovery that He wishes all of us to be His saints, but each according to his/her state of life; the married as married, the man of business as man of business, a cook as a cook, a sportsman as a sportsman, the religious as religious and so on.

As I was seeking God’s will, I went to Kolkata, India to work with the Missionaries of Charity. In a place called Kalighat, I had to dress the wounds of a very filthy old man who was picked up from the streets. It was difficult to endure the bad odour of that man but the sisters taught me how to share God’s love with others by showing respect for their human dignity. I saw Christ in that man and I felt a sense of hope.

Sisters from the Missionaries of Charity

I also became engaged in ministry. I served in the choir of Church of Christ the King and I experienced the importance of community. Through the ministry, I experienced the importance of community, supporting each other, helping one another, sharing joys and sorrows, working as a team, and fellowship. The ministry members helped me in my prayer life and to draw closer to Jesus. I’m always grateful to them and encouraged by their love.

Together with ministry members from Church of Christ the King

These experiences helped me to discern that I was called to the religious life. They helped me to make the leap of faith, to leave my career as software programmer and dedicate entirely to God’s work – the Godware.

Antony Charles
Novice, Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

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