Kerala church asks sacked nun to apologise
A Kerala church that recently sacked a nun has now threatened her with legal action if she didn’t apologise for accusing her superiors of locking her up in an act of retribution.
The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) served a notice on Friday asking Sister Lucy Kalappura to withdraw the police case she had filed against a clergyman who resorted to character assassination through a YouTube video uploaded on August 19 and against her convent authorities for locking her up.
It also asked her to withdraw the police case she has filed against other members of the diocese over being locked up.
A staunch critic of patriarchy in the church, the nun had backed another nun allegedly raped by Franco Mulakkal, who has since been removed as bishop of Jalandhar.
“They served the notice via email that I received last evening. I have already forgiven all those who hurt me. But I will never apologise since I never made up anything or lied to anyone,” the nun told The Telegraph over the phone from her convent in Wayanad.
No one from the diocese was available to comment despite repeated attempts by The Telegraph to contact its PROs.
The nun had openly supported other nuns who had held a protest near Kerala High Court in Kochi last year demanding the arrest of Mulakkal who was then moving around freely despite the rape survivor’s multiple letters to the church authorities.
The latest action is a consequence of two incidents. In both cases Sister Lucy had lodged police complaints.
She had on Wednesday filed a police complaint against Father Noble Thomas, a member of the Mananthavady Diocese in Wayanad.
The clergyman had in his video accused her of having relationships with two male journalists alleging she had taken them to the convent via the back door. He even attached purported footage from a security camera showing a nun leading two men into the convent.
The nun had clarified that a woman journalist was also present when the two male journalists visited the convent to interview the sacked nun on Sunday, August 18, sometime after she had been locked up inside the convent in Karakkamala in Wayanad. But the priest had cut out the portion showing the woman journalist.
“The notice tried to justify the act of Father Noble by saying the convent gave him the security camera footage as he is the PRO (of the diocese),” Sister Lucy said.
Earlier, Sister Lucy had to call the police after she was locked up inside the convent. While it is the practice to lock the building up when all the nuns head for Sunday mass, the doors were allegedly locked while she was still inside. Eventually, she was rescued by the police and filed a case of illegal confinement.
The church had on August 5 expelled Sister Lucy and “freed (her) from her religious profession and obligations and separated her from her Religious Congregation”.
But she refused to budge even after the formal expulsion sanctioned with the approval of the Vatican.
A Christian group, originally formed to help the rape survivor nun get justice and which has since rallied behind Sister Lucy, has planned a protest on Wednesday outside the FCC convent in Wayanad against her expulsion and harassment.
“Sister Lucy is only one of the many nuns harassed in different convents. Only that she has been vocal. Since she is the victim in this case, we don’t want her to apologise to the congregation,” Felix Pulludan, convener of the Save Our Sisters Action Council, told this newspaper.
Pulludan said activists from various groups from across Kerala would reach Wayanad for the protest.
The group is also planning to lay siege to the FCC headquarters in Aluva in Ernakulam on September 7. “We want everyone to know what is happening in these convents and how innocent nuns are getting harassed,” Pulludan said.