‘We Are Punished, Bishop Franco is Let Off’: Expelled Kerala Nun
Sister Lucy, one of the nuns who spoke against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal was expelled from the convent.
Sister Lucy Kalappura hasn’t lost her strength or her belief in what she stands for.
A whistleblower, Sister Lucy has always spoken out the truth, supporting the nuns who have been fighting to get justice for the survivor nun in the rape case in which Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal is the accused.
Sister Lucy, who belongs to the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), was expelled on Monday, 5 August. A letter issued by the FCC Superior General, Ann Joseph, to Sister Lucy stated that she “did not show the needed remorse and you failed to give a satisfactory explanation for your lifestyle in violation of the proper law of the FCC”.
But the nun says that she will not give up and will continue to live in the church convent at Mananthavady in Wayanad.
“Where will I go if I shift from the convent? I have to legally, but I need time for it, right? Till then I will seek police protection. If I fail legally, then the church should provide me the means to live peacefully,” she tells TNM.
“The church shouldn’t discard into dustbins people like me who were misunderstood by the church and those who haven’t done any wrong. Instead there should be proper rehabilitation and also means to livelihood,” she says.
Sister Lucy says she has received the same sainthood as the other 7,033 nuns of the FCC, follows the same law and asks how the other nuns are superior to her. The society, the conscience of the world, she says, will view FCC in a bad light for their actions.
The ‘offences’ of the nun in the eyes of the church include writing and publishing her poems and learning to drive a car.
“We are living in the 21st century and the church is still trying to impose laws belonging to the 3rd century. But this seems to be applicable to only a few. There is a nun in the same province as me who rides a scooter but she has not faced any action at all,” Sister Lucy says.
She also wonders why Ann Joseph did not try to meet her even once. “She never tried to meet even once personally to get clarity on what I did,” Sister Lucy says.
Sister Lucy condemns the fact that it is nuns who oppose other nuns who raise their voice. If all of them had fought for liberation, there would have been a huge change in the attitude of priests towards them, she believes. Even in her case, she feels that the Superior General herself was behind the decision to dismiss her.
“Hundred percent of the nuns in my congregation and those in others too criticised the nuns who stood up against Franco ever since the case was exposed. What kind of love and divine laws are they preaching then? Even now as I’m talking to you, there is a prayer going on, I don’t know for what if not for those who seek justice. Only nuns are not allowed to do all this while rape-accused priests like Robin and Franco are let off,” she says.
Sister Lucy has been a teacher at the Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School in Mananthavady since 1997. She started working as a teacher in 1994 and worked in Rajasthan for three years.
Since then, she has given her salary to the church as per the law of the church. “Even if I need to step out, the travel fare has to be requested in writing. The material to stitch our clothes is also purchased in general,” she says.
“But I didn’t give my salary for the past one year as I had to buy the car and publish my book. My life at the convent has been a lonely fight ever since I began to speak out, even for my meals here. But I had taken it as a different experience,” she says.
She concludes by saying, “My family won’t isolate me as they know that I stood for the truth but they are not able to back me openly. I will continue living here whatever the difficulties I may face.”
(The story has been published in an arrangement with The News Minute)
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