I thank the Lord for His Great love and mercy for touching me and opening my eyes and bringing me from darkness into His marvelous light Ė into the original faith (Apostolic Faith) and to his true church which is "built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone"- Eph.2:20.
I was a Roman Catholic nun for about 40 years in the congregation of the sisters of the little flower of Bethany which was founded by a priest in Mangalore Ė Karnataka (South India). I am the fourteenth child of my parents. I joined this congregation in 1955, while I was having my teacherís training. My two older sisters are still in this congregation. Nuns are used to the saying that "many are called but few are chosen to serve Christ religiously; to be the spouse of Christ". This notion was what made me to join the convent.
When I was a candidate in the religious life, I did not like the life of the sisterhood, I found that it was like a prison without any freedom. So I told my mother that I wanted to leave the convent, but my mother, a pious lady, persuaded me to remain in the convent saying, "One who puts the hand to the plough should not look back".
The life in the convent is routine and stereotype; a mechanical way of living. More importance is given to the manmade rules and constitutions, and obedience to the superiors, as they say, "the superiors are in the place of Christ". Rosary and prayer of the church are the daily routine -- repeated prayers. The slogan in the convent is "keep the rule and the rule will keep you". Now I say, "Keep the WORD and the Word of God will keep you". There was no freedom of worship. But now I enjoy the freedom of worship as a child of God to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
Though the nuns vow poverty, they are actually living in luxury. There is a lot of favoritism, nepotism, backbiting, jealousy, envy, etc. Those who are in favour of the superiors and higher superiors can get their work done easily. There is no place for those who are open and straight forward in life. A lot of injustice and partiality is prevailing in the religious life. Straight forward nuns are often transferred, sometimes even to remote places. As Catholicism is a dominating and an imposing religion, the religious life, which is the part of it, is the same. There is utter spiritual darkness as there is no light of Christ. I spent forty years in this spiritual bondage where there was no presence of God.
I worked as a teacher and as a principal of the high school in various schools in India. I joined the charismatic movement in 1975. Then I got the taste to read the Bible. I introduced this movement to the students and teachers in whichever school I was working. I was a heart patient and had three massive heart attacks. I was bed-ridden nearly for a year. As the Lord had plans for me, He healed me not only physically but also spiritually in order to bring me into the right faith and in the truth of His Word.
After I retired from the school, I obtained permission from the provincial (a leave for one year) to go about and preach the charismatic retreats by joining a team headed by a priest. I preached retreats in south Goa and also in some parishes in Bombay. Many healings and miracles were taking place. People were flocking to me to prayer over them and to lay hands on them. As I was going about preaching retreats in Bombay I used to meet my niece Flossy DíSouza and her husband Hubert DíSouza. Though Flossy was staying in Pune, whenever the priest of our retreat team and myself happened to be in Bombay, she too happened to be in Bombay where we were residing. It was the plan of God that it coincided that we should meet each other, and she used to share certain Scriptures with me. She showed me many times the Scripture "Come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev.18:4). She said that the Lord had already revealed to her in a dream that I would come out and be in the true Body of believers. Hence she took courage and shared the Scriptures with me. In the beginning I was reluctant. These Scriptures started ringing into my ears continuously, making me restless. I knew the trials and difficulties my niece had to face from her parents and relatives when she came out from Catholicism. Her boldness and steadfastness, and change in her life and the exemplary life of her husband, Hubert, was an inspiration to me. My niece shared the Scriptures with that priest and me several times. Though two of us were working in the same field "one was taken the other left" (Lk.17:36). I was taken by the Lord and that priest was left (and still is) in the field of Catholicism. I had gone through the church history, and the book called ĎMystery Babyloní. I understood the false doctrines and teachings of the Roman Catholic church which are very much against the Scriptures, namely, child baptism, doctrine of trinity, rosary devotion and novenas to saints and Mary, mass and communion, confessions, honouring of idols of saints and Mary, etc., etc.
I was very much devoted to the Eucharist. I asked the Lord whether Jesus is really present in that piece of bread. The Lord revealed to me that it is fake, it is only a piece of bread. Though I was a Nun then, but from that day onward I left off receiving the communion as it is a blasphemy and greatest idol worship in the Roman Catholic system, which is an idol worshipping religion. It is built on spiritism, for the Catholics have recourse to the souls in purgatory, offer masses and prayers for the dead. When I was in the novitiate, we were told to offer our total devotion to the souls in purgatory as a heroic act, which I did not do. In the religious life one has to be faithful not to the Word of God but to the manmade rules, mother church and to the pope as the Bethany Congregation is the papal congregation.
In the year 1996 I got an opportunity to attend the convention preached by Bro. Richard Gan of Singapore at Coimbatore. After attending the convention I was convinced that Catholicism is deceiving the people by duplicating the Scriptures and leading them on the road to perdition. Then I decided to leave the religious life as well as the Roman Catholic church. I wrote to the superior general stating that "the religious life is not according to the scriptures, the congregation cannot guarantee my salvation. I have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus." "I have laboured in vain, I spent my strength for nought and in vain" (Isa.49:4). "All our righteousness is as filthy rags" (Isa.64:6). Hence I am going to leave the religious life.
When my brother and two religious sisters came to know about this they were furious and opposed tooth and nail and heaped up insults upon me publicly. By the strength of the Lord I boldly told them "There is no power on this earth that can stop me from following the scriptures."
I left the religious life and the Catholicism and got baptized in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38) on 27-6-1996. From the time I came into the Truth I am enjoying good health, peace and joy. I understood that the women are not allowed to preach according to the Scriptures. I was going against the Scriptures by preaching when I was in the Catholic system. Roman Catholic church does not bear the name as Christian. It is a Pagan Roman Church which takes the Name of Jesus and claims it "Mother Church".
I feel sorry for the nuns who are still groping in the spiritual darkness, in the bondage of religious life which is a part of Catholicism. It is high time for you Ďsistersí to come out of the Catholic system. You cannot have salvation in Catholicism. God is not present in the system or in big, big churches. "The Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands. Heaven is my Throne and the earth is my footstool. What house will ye build me"? (Acts 7:48,49). God is present in His Word, in a body of believers.
Now I have the joy of living. I fellowship with the brothers and sisters of the Faith Assembly (Bombay). I stay with my niece Flossy and Hubert DíSouza. I reach out to the people and share the Word of God. My brother who was against my leaving the Catholicism has surrendered his life unto the Lord and got baptized; so also his youngest son. Four of my relatives in Mangalore with whom I shared the Word of God have come into the family of God, being baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since I came into this faith my life has been changed. On Sundays and Wednesdays we have are being fed by the revealed Word, preached by Pastor Hubert DíSouza, an anointed minister of God. The fresh manna that the members of the Faith Assembly get is helping them to grow spiritually. When I came into this faith there were few believers in the fellowship. Every year the Lord is adding to our church and it is growing. I thank the Lord for giving us a spirit-filled pastor who is really a servant of God. His patience, love and concern for the members of the fellowship is very edifying. I am very happy to live among the believers.
Praise the LORD.
Sister Valentine DíSouza.
FAITH ASSEMBLY BOMBAY
3. Anita apartments,
1st off Holy Cross Road,
I.C.Colony, Borivli (w),
Mumbai-400 103. (India).
5 June, 2003