Many nuns sexually exploited by dreaming of heaven
This is from 5th February 2019. Pope Francis was returning from the UAE to Rome on his plane. On the plane, journalists asked him questions about the sexual abuse of nuns in the convent. The Pope replied Yes, it is true. In recent years, nuns have been sexually abused by bishops and priests in India, Latin America, Italy and Africa. Pope Francis, the greatest religious leader of Christians, accepted this truth for the first time. Nun means a woman wearing a white or black gown. Head covered and a cross hanging around his neck. You will often see these in convent schools and churches. In common language, many people are also called sisters, although they are different from sisters. These are the women who marry Jesus in the name of religion and devote their whole life to the service of religion, but there is a large section of nuns who follow this sacred tradition, who are prone to all kinds of exploitation is a victim. To get a closer look at the lives of the nuns in the cult series, I went to the Malabar area of Kerala. I drove through the tea gardens of Calicut, heavy rain and thick fog to reach Mananthavady City in Wayanad, situated on the top of the mountain. St. Joseph’s Cathedral located in Mananthavady, Kerala. This church was established by Pope Paul VI in 1973. St. Joseph’s Cathedral located in Mananthavady, Kerala. This church was established by Pope Paul VI in 1973. About 15 km from Mananthavady is the town of Karakkamala, where 58-year-old nun Lucy Kallapura has a convent. Convent means a special place for nuns to live. In Christianity, these are almost the same as monasteries in Hinduism. On the phone, Lucy said – don’t come to the convent, people will trouble you and there will be trouble for me too. I come to your hotel. After a while Lucy came to the hotel in a plain suit-salwar. Lucy is from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC). Nuns in Catholicism come from different congregations. Congregation means where people from the Christian community gather for prayer. These are divided on the basis of their socio-religious work. The exact number of them in India is not known. Lucy joined the FCC at the age of 17. She was at number 7 among 11 siblings. She tells- It is a matter of childhood days. Five nuns and the priest would come home regularly. They would inspire me to become a nun. Constantly brainwashing me and my family. They would give religious knowledge and dream of taking them to heaven or heaven. There was not much understanding then. Due to the constant brain wash, the matter of Heaven also settled in my mind, because Father would scare people by telling terrible stories of Hell. Lucy decided to become a nun only after tenth. The family protested, but she did not agree and eventually moved to the convent after 12th in 1982, where she became a nun three years later. After this, Lucy started teaching as an English teacher in a government aided school, but her entire salary went to the convent. They did not get even a single rupee. Meanwhile, in September 2018, Franco Mulakkal was accused of raping a 46-year-old nun of the Missionaries of Jesus 13 times. In protest, nuns gathered on the streets of Kerala. They, led by Lucy, were demanding the arrest of the bishop. The bishop was arrested, but later released. The victim nun has not got justice till date. No one talks to Lucy in the convent. Food is not available either. They do not have entry in library, kitchen, iron, garden, medical, prayer room. 16 CCTV cameras have been installed to keep an eye on them. There is a camera at the place from where she goes to the toilet at night. She says that at least remove that camera, because at night she goes to the toilet in a short dress. Everything is captured in the camera. She also applied to the National Commission for Women to remove it, but no hearing was held. According to Lucy, nuns have no privacy. If a nun speaks about the atrocities happening inside the convent’s walls, she is so tortured that she even commits suicide. In Kerala, 28 nuns have committed suicide in the last 20 years. After that I decided to talk to an existing nun. Visited many convents in Kerala, but the nuns are cut off from the world. His whole life is a secret. If a nun raises her voice, she is either thrown out of the convent or she is tortured. In 1992, Kotayam’s traumatic murder of 30-year-old nun Abhaya exposed the convent and church system. Earlier it was considered a suicide, but after the public protest, the investigation of the case was handed over to the CBI. Father Thomas Kuttoor and Sister Sefi were found guilty in the investigation. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was later granted bail by the Kerala High Court. Abhaya’s fault was so much that she saw Father and Sister Sefi having a relationship at the PIUS X convent in Kottayam. After all the efforts, a nun at the Ederson convent agreed to talk to Elsie, but the horror was such that she could only say ‘I’m very happy’ ‘I’m very happy’… It was clear that she was avoiding saying anything. Nun Elsie standing with a prayer book in her hand. Despite repeated questions, she refrained from saying anything about the life of the convent. Nun Elsie standing with a prayer book in her hand. Despite repeated questions, she refrained from saying anything about the life of the convent. After Mananthavadi, I went to meet Raphael, a nun from Thrissur district of Kerala. 63-year-old Jaime lives alone in her two-bedroom flat. After giving 50 years to the convent, now in a sick condition. In his book ‘Amen’, Jasme has talked about corruption inside the convent and church and his sexual abuse. Likeme has done MPhil from Calicut University. She has been Vice Principal at Vimala College, Thrissur and Principal at St. Mary’s College. The name of their convent is Mother of Carmel Congregation. When he raised his voice against his exploitation, he was declared insane expelled from the convent. As she tells the story of becoming a nun. She says- I was 17 when I fell in love with Jesus. I thought they were coming in my dreams. After that I decided to become the bride of Jesus. When I told this to my mother, she said that with time you will forget this fit. After a few days I again told my mother that I was going to become a nun. She started saying that you have not forgotten yet. Would you be able to live without trendy clothes, delicious food and everything else? Think now, but I made a promise to Jesus. After that I joined the convent. With me 14 girls became nuns. However, only a few years later I came to know that there are no gods here. Here there are people wearing fake masks. The nuns are abusing each other, speaking badly. Bishop and Priest are sexually abusing nuns. Someone is sending money home by wrong way. Seeing this, our senses were blown away. We started talking amongst ourselves whether we had become nuns to see all this. Earlier I used to cry in secret. Then I felt that Jesus is telling me why you are not speaking, speak against injustice in church and convent, ask questions. I asked Jesus to give me strength. She says – God is the rich and powerful people in the church system. That’s why I made up my mind to run away from such hell. They declared me insane. They wanted to get me treated, but I had also decided that I would not do it at any cost, because I was completely fine. I moved to Delhi and left the convent after 6 months. There are many restrictions for nuns. For example, a bishop or a priest can attend a wedding, but a nun cannot. In any wedding ceremony of your family also. They can only go to the death of someone in their family. The bishop or priest can wear whatever, but the nuns must always wear the gown. The bishop or the priest can watch a movie, have fun, but the nuns are not allowed to do so. Only Yes Lord runs in the convent. That is, whatever is told, you have to do it. The nun arranges money for the convent and church. She takes care of education, health, religious work. Different responsibilities are given to them in different congregations. The world has saluted nuns like Mother Teresa, but it is also true that when things cannot come out from the walls of most convents, how will anyone know what is going on inside.
After completing 3 years and 3 vows, she becomes a nun
Catholic Church of Mananthavady City. Nuns pray by sitting in this special hall of the church. Most girls who become nuns are 17-18 years old. Purity is the first condition for them. It takes 3 to 5 years to become a nun. During this strict discipline has to be followed. Bishop and Priest give them frequent lectures. They are told about God and Angels. The first year is of aspirancy. During this, the girl going to become a nun is given training to adapt according to that society. The second year is of postlancy. In this, the emphasis is on studying about that community. The third year is of novices (canonical and apostolic). This is the toughest year. A girl going to become a nun has to pray day and night. Also they have to remain silent for a year. She can only talk to her senior. After this she is given a new name and the date of marriage with Jesus is fixed. After about 4 hours of ceremony, the girl becomes the wife of Jesus. Waking up at 5 in the morning. One has to be present in the prayer hall by 5.30 pm, offer vocal prayer, meditate, have breakfast, work in the convent, whatever work is assigned.
Every nun has to take three vows-
1. Chastity means purity. The nun will never marry anyone, nor will she enter into a romantic relationship, nor will she ever have a relationship with anyone.
2. Poverty means poverty. They always have to live by asking.
3. obedience i.e. obedient. He always has to say Yes Lord.
Why are the nuns not getting justice?
The International Union of Superior Generals, an organization representing the world’s Catholic women’s religious orders, has also openly condemned the exploitation of nuns. In 2019, she said that many nuns keep silent in the name of culture of silence and secrecy. This leads to more exploitation. Nuns need to raise their voice against their exploitation. Father Augustine Vattoli of Kochi says – There is a system for complaints of nuns in the convent, but if any complaint brings bad name to the Catholic Church in society, then efforts are made to suppress it. The belief is also deeply rooted in Catholicism that the complaint of the Priest leads to Hell, God is angry. Because of this, most nuns do not complain at all. Jaime, who was a nun, alleges that churches are very powerful. There is no power and no government in front of them. We complained everywhere, appealed to the Women’s Commission too, but nothing happened. She says that once you become a nun, there are only two ways. Either living an anonymous life outside or being a victim of exploitation inside. Those who rebel are thrown out of the convent. Women who are less educated or from backward castes are compelled to adapt themselves according to the system. As they say, we demand that the Third Vatican Council be convened as soon as possible. Whoever wants to get married, should be allowed to marry. After marriage, permission should be given to become a bishop, priest or nun.