A solemn ‘YES’ at Pune Carmel!
Sr. Pooja of the Holy Trinity made her Solemn Profession on
the 23rd of May 2018. Having nurtured a vocation to the
contemplative life since the age of around 8, Sr. Pooja has
now consecrated herself totally to the service of our Lord
and His Church.
The Eucharistic Celebration was presided over by Most Rev.
Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Poona. The Carmelite Friars, Frs.
Prasanna and Joe D’Souza from the Talegaon community and Fr.
Joy Francis from Pushpashram community, Mysore were present.
The Jesuit fathers from the neighboring De Nobili College
and the priests from Sr. Pooja’s home parish of Ajra also
graced the occasion.
Her family members along with the friends and Benefactors of
the community joined in the celebrations.
THE JOURNEY OF SR POOJA OF THE HOLY TRINITY so far…
Pooja Khandekar was born on the 12th of March 1992 at
Belgaum, the 1st of 2 children born to Monappa and Pramila.
Although born in a Hindu family, our Lord began to draw her
to himself at a very early age. Her first vivid memory of
Jesus is from the age of three when she saw a movie on Jesus
that was playing in her village. The most striking scene to
her then was the scourging at the pillar. Being very little,
she soon fell asleep in her mother’s arms. The next day,
however, she remembers the whole village talking about the
movie being about a “Christian God”. She also remembers
being drawn to a certain building which she had never
entered before. A few years later she was to find out that
that building was a Church.
Her attraction towards Jesus was further fostered when, at
around the age of 6 or 7, she started watching the TV serial
Daya Sagar which was on the Life of Christ. At the age of 8,
Sr. Pooja started schooling at the Jesuit run Rosary School
at Ajra where she first encountered Christians and from
where her own momentous journey towards Christianity began.
Even as a Hindu, Sr. Pooja was searching for God, was pious
and was devoted to prayer. At school, the holiness of her
principal, late Fr. Franklin D’Souza, S.J, left a deep
impression on her. His simplicity, gentleness and
uprightness convinced her that whatever he spoke, without
any doubt, had to be true.
Her father being in the Army, the family frequently had to
relocate to different places in India which started
disrupting the education of the children. With the desire to
have their children receive a good education at a Catholic
Institution and, for academic stability, at the age of 10,
her parents admitted her into the Holy Family Boarding,
adjoining the school. It was here that her prayer life began
to sprout. Daily Mass and prayer was part of the time-table
of the Convent, which she faithfully followed.
The seed of her vocation to Carmel was sown when she read a
children’s comic book on the life of St. Thérèse (Little
Flower). So inspired was she with the life of the saint,
that she herself decided to follow Jesus by becoming a
Carmelite. The virtuous life of the sisters in her own
boarding further nurtured her desire to become a nun. She
realized that the first step towards the fulfilment of this
desire was to become a Catholic. That year (at age 11) when
she was home on vacation, she informed her parents of her
decision to become a nun and a Catholic. So sincere and
zealous was the desire of their child that her parents
themselves agreed to become Catholics.
That same year, her parents and brother began their
Catechetical formation under the spiritual guidance of Fr.
Fremio, of the Diocese of Belgaum (who is also present with
us here today) while Sr. Pooja was catechized at her School
and Boarding. The family had to face a lot of resistance
both from within their family as well as from the
Parishioners of the local Church. However, with the kind
help of Fr. Fremio, the necessary permissions were sought
from Bishop Peter Machado (former Bishop of Belgaum).
26th of February 2004 was that day of the Lord’s favour when
the Khandekar family received the grace of Baptism and Fist
Holy Communion too. Sr. Pooja was studying in the 5th
standard at that time. Their extended family, being
displeased with their decision, severed all ties with them.
Two years later, in 2006, Sr. Pooja received the Sacrament
of Confirmation ministered by Bishop Allwyn Baretto (Bishop
In the 9th standard Sister met Fr. Rocha, S.J who was
visiting the Rosary School and communicated her intention to
become a nun. She clearly informed him that she was looking
for an enclosed convent only, but that she had no
information about where such convents existed. Little did
not know that she was talking to the Confessor of the
Sisters at Pune Carmel. Due to her tender age, Fr. Rocha did
not inform the community immediately of the probable
candidate. He, nevertheless, kept in touch with Sr. Pooja.
It was only 5 years later that he informed the community. In
the meantime, Sr. Pooja continued her education. Her
vocation was supported and encouraged by her parents who
never let her zeal slacken.
In 2011, after her 12th std exams, Sr Pooja, began to sense
an urgent call from the Lord to join immediately but was
persuaded by her spiritual director, Fr. Anthony D’Souza,
S.J, to continue her studies in order to ascertain her
vocation. A year later, seeing her determined determination,
he gave his consent.
0n 24th May2012 (Exactly 6 years back), accompanied by her
parents and Fr. Anthony, Sr. Pooja was admitted into this
Carmel to ‘Come and See’ their life. After a month’s stay,
she returned back 11 days later to enter the monastery as a
Postulant on the 6th of June, the Feast day of St. Maria
Goretti. From then on began her hidden life of service to
the Church through prayer and self-denial. She was vested in
the Holy Habit of Our Lady on the 3rd of July 2013 and was
given the name Sr. Pooja of the Holy Trinity. She made her
1st profession of Vows on the 1st of May 2015 and three
years later, she made her final commitment for life, through
Solemn Profession on 23rd of May, 2018.