I am Father Shaju Puthussery, a Conventual Franciscan priest from Kerala, India. I was born and brought up in a traditional Catholic family, so I had a very good faith formation from my early childhood and I studied in a Catholic school, too.
When I think of my vocation, the very first thought to become a priest came to my mind when I was studying in the sixth grade and I was just 11 years old. I was at my mother’s house during the summer vacation and there was a priestly ordination at the parish of my mother. I participated in it and I liked it very much.
As soon as I came back home after the ordination my mother asked me, “Did you like the ordination? How was the whole function?”
I said, “Mom, it was wonderful. I liked it a lot!”
Immediately my mother told me, “Well, then you also may become a priest.”
At that moment, I just smiled hearing that. After one more year when I was in the seventh grade, a Salesian priest came to our school and he spoke of the Salesian congregation. He was recruiting students for their school from eighth grade onward, mainly in view of finding vocations also.
While he was speaking on vocation to priesthood, soon the indication of my mother came to my mind and I am sure it was an intervention of God, and I gave my address to him. I was invited for a vocation camp but they did not select me, saying that I was too small to join in a seminary. I was (and still am) a very short man. They suggested me to come back after the 10th grade; maybe they were hoping that I would grow more and become tall.
I came back home, so sad and disappointed, and I never wanted to go to the Salesians anymore. Not only that, I even left the idea of becoming a priest.
Maybe God was testing me.
After the 10th grade I did not go to any seminary, but I joined in the college, as it was the system of education we had in my school time. After I finished two years of college, one of my cousins who was in the seminary came home for vacation and he, too, was speaking on vocation.
My mother looked at me so kindly, with all the love she had for me, and smiled at me. I could know the feelings of my mother from that smile. I realized that she is so happy that I might become a priest. And, indeed, I too was so interested within me but the disappointment given by the Salesians was always in my mind, which drew me back to make a decision.
Then I went to the Conventual Franciscan Friars to speak about the vocation. On the very first day itself I was selected, and I was so happy for it. Thus, very joyfully, I joined in the Conventual Franciscan order on June 18, 1992, at the age of 17. I made my first religious profession on May 1, 1995, and the solemn profession on May 24, 2000, and received the priestly ordination on Dec. 30, 2001.
Now I am a Conventual Franciscan priest for 20 years and I am so proud to be a Franciscan priest. I am sure God had his own plan for me and he was guiding me to this Franciscan order through all the ups and downs.
I believe that we have a God who is always faithful and he has never disappointed me in my priestly life. God even blessed me to work outside India — almost 10 years in Italy and now in the Archdiocese of Louisville in the United States. I am so happy about it and I am always grateful to God for all his blessings in my priestly life.
Father Shaju Puthussery is associate pastor of St. Gabriel Church.
Very inspiring father. God bless you and your mission.my prayers for you
Father Shaju radiates joy. His vocation is a blessing for all of us.
I have heard it before and read it now. The most influencial thing is that whenever there is difficulty in my life, then I just remember your words and your vocation story. That really gives me more positive energy. Thank you Father Varghese Puthussery coming into my life as a real friend, guider, helper and model more than anythingelse. Once Thank you very much Father Varghese.
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