Sister Lucy, one of the nuns who protested against the rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal and who was subsequently expelled from the congregation on disciplinary grounds, is once again in the limelight after penning her autobiography titled 'Karthavinte Namathil' (In the name of God) wherein she recounts more harrowing tales of sexual abuse by priests.
“It is about my life experiences. It is also about the sexual abuse and harassment faced by nuns like me at the hands of priests and bishops,” she told Onmanorama. “A fact that everybody knows but is silent about.” She said that the women who chose to be nuns to serve God end up serving the priests.
The 229-page book recounts four incidents in her life where she faced sexual abuse from priests. In the first incident, she recounts how a priest forcibly kissed and hugged her. In another incident, a priest who trained her in keyboard tried to molest her. In the third, she recounts how a vicar of a church outside Kerala where she was staying as a guest tried to make sexual advances at night and how she had to use force to escape his clutches. She also talks about how a priest much younger touched her inappropriately and only gave up when she raised her voice.
Lucy started writing the book between 2004 and 2005 to record the 'mental torture' she was experiencing. “I thought it would be better to keep a record. Hopefully, it will instil strength and courage in the many who are trapped in the vice-grip of these wrongs.”
The former nun also reveals young nuns are even forcibly sent to the priests, who are sex maniacs. They make them stand naked for hours. The nun alleged that the Syro-Malabar Church and its congregations have become centres of sexual anarchy.
In the book, the nun also reveals how a good number of nuns have relationships with priests and cited this as the reason for the dominant position enjoyed by the priests in the Church and its convents.
“I am glad that what had long been in the shadows - these illegal land deals, financial frauds and sexual abuse within the Church - are now out in public. I pray that it will bring about some kind of reform or change within the Church,” Lucy said.
The book 'Karthavinte Namathil', published by DC Books, will be released on December 9 at Ernakulam Press Club.
Sister Lucy, who belonged to the order of Franciscan Clarist Congregation in Kerala, was expelled from the congregation on disciplinary grounds for 'grave violations' such as buying a car on loan, possessing a driver's licence, publishing a book, and spending money without her superior's permission. Lucy has dismissed the charges saying that these were deliberate attempts to paint her in a bad light.
Sister Lucy came to the limelight as she joined other nuns who took part in a protest seeking the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun.
The media commission secretary of Syro-Malabar Church, Antony Thalachelloor, refuted Lucy's allegations saying that “the autobiography of the nun does not even deserve a reaction from the Church.”
Laity commission secretary of the Church Jose Vithayathil too condemned it as efforts of some individuals to defame the Church.