It had to be of the nicest religious functions we have attended, supported by a cake from Gaylord in town that said it all.
Four young women, two from neighbouring coastal Uttan, two from the distant north-east, were professing their first vows before a very large congregation in Versova. The backdrop was a 400-year-old Portuguese church and a twilight sky that must have been exactly the same when it was built.
As Mumbai’s much-loved cardinal, Oswald Gracias, head of 6,00,000 Catholics in the city, presided with his usual grace and gift of oratory, the four girls (for they were not much more than that!) came forward one by one to take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience that would bind them for one year to the institutions run by the nuns in the House of Charity.
The Versova home is very well-known in the area and beyond, for looking after special, destitute and abandoned children with astounding devotion and as satisfying as the work may be, it is never ever easy.
But these girls, Rose, Lily, Carol and Esther, already know that, having spent a long time working with the nuns already.
What is deeply moving is the fact that they would want to take these vows at all, given that the world is making it so much more difficult each day for anyone to observe even a part of these promises.
Last Sunday, however, there was not even a tremor of doubt in four young voices, as they stated their intentions clearly and firmly. Then they were given their new brown habits and pure white veils, and watched by everyone, they deftly pinned them on and got down to business.
And the cake? It was beautiful and funny and obviously made with a lot of attention to detail. So pretty that even when we left, it had not been cut, probably because no one had the heart to destroy it. So till far into the evening, four little nuns decked up in marzipan icing graced their own little cake stage, one pushing a wheel chair, another reading to a child, a third cradling a tiny baby and the fourth cooking with gusto in the kitchen.
Take a look!