Convent Can’t Digest Dissent: Ex Nun On Sister Lucy’s Dismissal
After threatening to expel Sister Lucy Kalappura of Mananthavady Diocese in Wayanad from the Kerala church congregation several times in the last few months, the Convent has finally dismissed her on Monday. The reason to expel her from the congregation as given by the convent is pointed towards her ‘lifestyle’ which comprised of learning how to drive, writing and publishing her poems, etc. While these practices were a part of her lifestyle for a long time, the decision from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) came after she protested against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused in a case of rape by Sr Lucy’s fellow nun.
The congregation has given her a deadline of 10 days to make recourse to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches against this decree of dismissal. The letter of dismissal comes after two letters threatening of expulsion in January and February by the Superior General of FCC claiming that her life was “against the principles of religious life” and “against the rule and constitution of FCC”. Sister Lucy spoke to the media after she received this letter and said, “There is no fault on my part. I will not move out from the convent and I will fight against this (dismissal) legally.”
Ex-nun Dr Sister Jesme who left nunhood a decade ago and then wrote a controversial book Amen spoke to SheThePeople.TV about the dismissal and said, “Sister Lucy’s expulsion is a clear message from the Church that if somebody speaks out, they will be ousted. Whoever chooses to stay within the Congregation is some way or the other is succumbing to all the injustices happening within the community.”
However, she feels that this dismissal is a good thing that has happened to Sister Lucy as even though she has been ousted, she can still continue to teach somewhere else while being able to enjoy her freedom. “She has financial support too so it wouldn’t impact her a lot. But the other nuns, who don’t have permanent jobs and give some ordinary daily services inside the convent, will find it extremely difficult to manage if they are expelled from the convent. They have no financial support and they don’t even have social support so Sister Lucy’s condition is far better. It is better for her to come out and do good for society outside the Convent. She can continue to be a sister, serve Jesus Christ and serve the people and enjoy freedom,” she said.
“Let such things come out. Those who have a clear mind and are ready to react to all the injustices being done by the Church especially, crimes as grave as sexual abuse will never be accommodated by the convent. It cannot digest such virtuous being,” she added.
Sr Jisme also claimed that the most marginalised people are the nuns because they are stripped off of all their rights when they sign the patrimony.
“Sister Lucy’s expulsion is a clear message from the Church that if somebody speaks out, they will be ousted. Whoever chooses to stay within the Congregation is some way or the other succumbing to all the injustices happening within the community” Ex-nun Sr Jesme
The FCC issued the letter to Sr Lucy on August 5 saying, “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”.
The letter read, “In case you accept this decree of dismissal without any recourse, as per canon law and as per the decree of confirmation, you will be freed from the obligations of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience that you have taken in the Franciscan Clarist Congregation and you will have no more rights and duties in the Franciscan Clarist Congregation and hence, you are to leave the present community within 10 days from the reception of this communication, after having handed over your religious habit to the superior of your local community.”
The General Council headed by Superior General, Ann Joseph, collectively decided to oust Sister Lucy and sent the decree to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Vatican through the Nunciature in New Delhi.
Picture credit- Madhyamam