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'I Feel Abandoned': Sister Lucy, Who Took on Bishop Franco, on Indefinite Fast

Sister Lucy Kalapura alleged she was not allowed to use the fridge, prayer room and other common facilities.

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Even after serving her congregation for 40 years and winning a case in court, Sister Lucy Kalapura claims she has been isolated and harassed.

On 27 September, Sister Lucy, who had protested against Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the nun rape case and was expelled by the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, began an indefinite fast before the convent in Mananthavady in Kerala's Wayanad district. She came out with serious accusations against the convent authorities that she has been denied food and other basic amenities at the convent.

"This is not divine. This is not human. This is not as per societal customs. I need my rights," she told The Quint.

I have started a protest to reclaim my rights. The nuns (of the convent) are violating the laws set by the judiciary and the divine laws. Every person is equal before the law.
Sister Lucy Kalapura

Sister Lucy (56) alleged that she was not allowed to use the fridge, iron box, prayer room and other common facilities.

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"At the age of 17, I joined the congregation and started working for it.
But even after years of service, my salary is denied. I am treated in an inhuman way. For the past four years, no one has talked to me and I am denied everything," she added.

‘As I Spoke Against Bishop Franco, the Congregation Is Targeting Me'

In 2018, Sister Lucy had taken part in a protest by nuns belonging to Missionaries of Jesus Congregation seeking the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal. A nun, belonging to the Missionaries of Jesus order, had accused Mulakkal of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kottayam district.

She was expelled by the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), under the Roman Catholic Church in May 2019, on charges of ‘violation of the vows of obedience and poverty.’

A court in 2021, however, allowed her to stay at the convent until the case regarding her eviction was decided.

"I openly supported the nuns who were deserted by the Catholic church. I support all the women congregations too. I joined the Sister in her pain and struggles which she faced then. Since I spoke against Bishop Franco, the FC congregation is targeting me. They are trying to throw me onto the streets," she said.

In January 2022, a Kerala court acquitted Bishop Mulakkal, saying the prosecution failed to prove the charges against him.

In December 2019, Sister Lucy stirred up controversies with her 203-page Malayalam book, Karthavinte Namathil, which translates to ‘In the name of Christ’, with accounts of sexual abuse by priests, exploitation and illicit relationships within the church.

She also wrote about the ‘chauvinistic authority of the clergy’ and how many nuns had to give in to the ‘sexual desires' of the male clergy.

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‘Nuns Have Rights as Human Beings & Women’

She has raised similar complaints several times in the past four years.

Nuns are not governed by any canon law. Our rights are protected by Indian law. We have rights as human beings and women. Like me, other nuns are also being targeted by the congregation.
Sister Lucy Kalapura

She alleges that she is always being watched.

"There are 5 CCTV cameras on me. There are cameras wherever I walk.
Even when I am cooking, eating, drinking or cleaning, there is a camera watching me. This is a violation of the rights of a woman. Right to privacy is a fundamental right and I want that," she added.

Sister Lucy claimed that her multiple pleas have been ignored by the local police.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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