The nun who can’t own a car

A religious nun by the name Sister Lucy Kalappura tried to do something different. She bought a car.

Sacrilegious! How could she?

She didn’t stop at that. She decided to decry the fact that a Bishop of her faith, accused of rape, was allowed to continue unscathed under the church’s eye. So she went ahead to write some poems, attended a couple of TV interviews and even shouted at a protest march. That’s definitely blasphemy!

So, it is obviously natural that she was asked to leave the said church’s congregation, stating that she had far too “rebellious an attitude” and far too questionable “lifestyle”.

Superior General of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), Ann Joseph, issued a letter to her; dated 5th August, dismissing her from the congregation, stating categorically that she “did not show the needed remorse.”

So, her crimes!

She wrote and published poems, learnt how to drive, bought a car and even supported the protests against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal. How could she dare to do these?

Seriously, was she out of her mind protesting against a man of the church that courts were going to try for rape? Repeated rape – multiple times, between the space of a couple of years.

“You failed to give a satisfactory explanation for your lifestyle in violation of the proper law of the FCC,” the General Council, which was held on 11th May 2019 had opined while unanimously voting to dismiss her from the FCC, a decree which was sent to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Vatican through the Nunciature in New Delhi.

Was Sister Lucy of Mananthavady Diocese in Wayanad out of her mind? She should have mend her ways when she was given two letters prior to this, one in January and another in February, warning her that her protests were “against the principles of religious life” and challenging the Church for cornering the survivor nun in the rape case against a Bishop was “against the rule and constitution of FCC”.

Foolishly, even then, she stood by what she says now, that she has not done anything wrong, but has been right.

She should have realised what’s coming her way when in fact, a few days after joining the protests led by five nuns of Missionaries of Jesus in September 2018, she was banned from teaching the Bible and attending prayers, worship services and other activities of the parish, including offering holy communion.

Sister Lucy has said that she has been forced and threatened to sign her own dismissal letter. She hopes that people who’d rallied around her would continue to. She believes that she is doing the right thing – standing up for nuns fighting for justice.

******

Dear Sister Lucy, what were you thinking? You should have known that religious leaders continue to rule the heartland even if they are rape accused. You should have known that there is not much recourse left to you, if you choose to do the right thing.

How foolish were you to think that what you were doing are rights fundamentally ordained to you.

You stood in protest; you expressed remorse for the survivor, cried foul against delayed action, wrote what you thought, said what you thought. Yet, you never showed the “needed remorse” for all your actions.

Were you out of your mind, Sister Lucy; may I ask? Could you not understand for once when the rape survivor was maligned by the Missionaries of Jesus, the organisation she belonged to for apparently “being in a relationship with a taxi driver”.

Could you not understand even when the church leadership continued to steadfastly back the accused Bishop, despite the High Court prima facie evidence and the police charging him for his crime?

Were you not scared when Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, a member of the clergy who deposed against the bishop in the rape case, was found dead at a church in Hoshiarpur’s Dasuya.

Sister Lucy, perhaps the Church may not have the spine to tell you, but you did the right things.

You can write poems, you can attend TV interviews, you can protest against a wrong-doing. And, of course, you can own a car.

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