‘Should’ve Done More’: Sister Lucy on Sacking After Mulakkal Row

“I should have done even more, in fact,” Sister Lucy tells The Quint when asked about why the Church sacked her.

Updated
India
2 min read
Sister Lucy (L) and Bishop Franco Mulakkal (R)
i
“I am living a very truthful life and they are nitpicking issues to emotionally torture me.”
Sister Lucy Kalapura

Learning to drive. Owning a car. Publishing a collection of poems.

These are some of the charges listed by the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) of the Catholic Church in Kerala to dismiss Lucy Kalapura. She was a prominent face in the protests held in September 2018 by nuns demanding the arrest of Bishop Mulakkal, who has been accused of rape.

The Quint spoke to Lucy, who talked about how this seems like a move by the Church and the higher authorities to silence those who are supporting the nun.

The Church dismissed her on 11 May after issuing at least three warning notices over the months. The nun received the letter of dismissal in the first week of August.

The letter says she is “Freed from her religious profession and other obligations... and to be considered dismissed from her religious life and a simple layperson.”

Bishop Mulakkal has been accused of raping a nun 14 times from 2014 to 2016 and the case is under trial. Several nuns who have stood up against him have allegedly been threatened.

In October 2018, Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, another member of the clergy and a key witness in the case, was found dead at a church in Hoshiarpur's Dasuya, under suspicious circumstances.

This is what Lucy Kalapura had to say:

The church has dismissed you by citing various charges over the last year. What do you have to say to that?

“The church accused me of going for protests, that I spoke against committee (sabha), spoke on a TV channel, bought a vehicle, wrote to a newspaper. All those should have been done... but I think I should have done even more, in fact.”

One of the main charges against you was learning to drive and owning a car. Did you inform the church while you were going for driving lessons, why you needed a vehicle?

“I bought a vehicle to help me with things at school. For so many years I have been travelling with great difficulty, for children to visit places, to understand problems in the families of children... for convenience, basically. They (church) have been against me doing all this driving but they can’t actually do this which is meaningless because this is something everyone does. So why accuse only me is something I can’t understand.”

Do you feel this is a move by the church to intimidate you for protesting against Bishop Mulakkal?

“I spoke for those sisters to give them support, to get them more support. I didn’t even know them but wanted to speak to the media for them. But now all this is happening.”

What is your next plan of action?

“I had to accept the order under compulsion. I was forced to sign and give it. I’m taking this as a challenge and so will stay back here even though others with similar situations might leave.”

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