Carlo Acutis is one of the most inspiring young saints of today, and the testimony of his life and his intercession have undoubtedly led to many conversions. Rajesh Mohur is one of those who had the privilege of meeting the “patron saint of geeks” during his lifetime.
Born in Mauritius, Rajesh was a Hindu from a family of the Brahmin caste, the highest Hindu caste. His father was a priest and president of the Hindu Association of Mauritius. He taught his son all the Hindu prayers and instilled religious culture and history in him. At the age of 16, Rajesh was sent to Gujarat, India, the birthplace of Gandhi, to continue his studies.
In the book Blessed Carlo Acutis: A Saint in Sneakers by Courtney Mares, Rajesh recalls visiting many temples and gurus who provided peaceful environments. However, he adds, none of them changed his life. What he was seeking for was a “living God.”
After gaining admission to a university in Rajasthan, the young student graduated with a degree in physics. Just as he was about to enroll in a master’s program in England, he learned of his father’s sudden death. Rajesh soon returned to Mauritius to help his family who were facing financial problems. Full of anger and bitterness at the loss of his father, Rajesh took refuge in Hindu prayer but was unable to find solace.
A DARK-HAIRED CHERUB
Struggling to find stable employment, he immigrated to Italy in the mid-1980s, where he stayed for 10 years. In 1995, he was hired by a family to help raise a little boy with curly brown hair, named Carlo Acutis. On the second day, Rajesh saw a brown-haired angelic boy running towards him, smiling broadly with his hand outstretched to offer his new friend a piece of chewing gum.
Throughout his childhood, young Carlo read the lives of the saints and watched cartoons based on Bible stories. Rajesh always accompanied him, including to Sunday school and church. Carlo enjoyed going to church regularly to pray before or after school. It was there that Rajesh witnessed young Carlo’s soul blossoming like roses in the spring.
“His behavior changed when he was inside the church, with all respect. He knew that there was something different where Jesus lives…. That touched my heart,” recalls Rajesh, amazed at the young boy’s generosity with others and the way he spoke about his faith. “Seeing Carlo’s acts, you know, (the acts) of such a small child, that was what converted me,” says Rajesh. “He had formed the habit … of reciting the holy Rosary every night before going to bed.”
Carlo’s Eucharistic devotion also struck Rajesh. In an interview for a documentary, he said that sometimes, “(Carlo) asked if I could take him into the church, to meditate a little by the tabernacle … Now, I didn’t know anything. I’d wonder, ‘What’s going on?’ Then Carlo told me what was inside: the body of Jesus.” Rajesh would ask Carlo how such a thing could be possible, and the boy would explain the Eucharist to him, along with other aspects of the faith. “He did so sweetly. It felt as if we had already gone up to heaven.”
As he grew up, Carlo taught Rajesh to pray the Rosary, and explained to him the importance of the sacraments and other truths of the faith. “He knew the Catechism of the Catholic Church almost by heart and explained it so brilliantly that he managed to get me excited about the sacraments,” says Rajesh.
When he then told Carlo that he had been having dreams about Jesus, Carlo responded, “Jesus loves you, Rajesh.”
ENCOUNTER WITH THE LIVING GOD
Rajesh eventually requested to be baptized in 1999 and received the sacrament along with First Communion and Confirmation simultaneously, as is generally customary with adult converts. “All those experiences changed my life. And I could see the living God.”
Rajesh went to Mass daily with Carlo, where he could finally receive Communion.
Several years later, Rajesh’s mother flew from Mauritius to visit her son. There, Carlo took her to Mass. His mother didn’t understand much. She was familiar with neither Catholicism nor the Italian language. But young Carlo Acutis patiently spoke to her in English about Jesus and Our Lady of Lourdes.
With the help of the Acutis family, Rajesh’s mother visited the French shrine and, once back in Mauritius, she too asked to be baptized. “That was Carlo’s magic,” concludes Rajesh. “He could convert me and my mom, too.” Published in Aleteia.