Expelled Kerala nun Lucy Kalapura is fighting against the might of the church
“I have not erred. I will not apologise. If I do so, it will not only be that I am doing an injustice to myself but also to all women who are fighting for their rights.”
These were the words of expelled Kerala nun Lucy Kalapura who has been served a show-cause notice by Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), to which she belongs, on August 24 for filing two police complaints against a senior nun and a priest.
“I am not at all going to apologise. Tomorrow is the D-Day for me. In the show-cause notice, they have mentioned that if I am not going to apologise and withdraw the police complaints, then they will not wait anymore…What does that mean?
It means that they will throw me out from the convent forcefully before a decision has been taken on my appeal which I had sent to Rome. I am now planning to face any kind of challenges,” Sister Lucy said.
When asked whether she will be seeking help of police or family, if she is being forcefully evicted from the convent tomorrow, she said that she will look for those options too.
“They will do anything. I may look for all options. I feel I should think of seeking police help too as now the situation is worse,” she added.
This week, Sister Lucy had filed one complaint against the senior nun who allegedly locked her up inside the convent and another over a defamatory video allegedly circulated on social media by a public relations team member.
Last Monday, Sister Lucy had found herself locked inside the convent in the morning as she got ready to attend the holy mass in the nearby church.
And based on her complaint, the police registered a case under Section 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code.
And on August 19, Father Noble Thomas, a priest who works in the Diocese public relations team had posted a CCTV visual stating that Sr Lucy had brought two men to the convent through the back door.
However later it came to light that the men were journalists who had come to collect certain documents from Sr Lucy to write a book about her.
And in the CCTV visual posting, police have registered a case under Section 509 of the IPC (insulting the modesty of women) and Section 500 (defamation).
Since September 2018, Sister Lucy, who was in the forefront of the fight with nuns from Missionaries of Jesus demanding the arrest of rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal on the streets of Kochi, has been facing wrath from her congregation.
Franco has been accused of raping a nun belonging to the order of Missionaries of Jesus several times, between 2014 and 2016.
And finally, in 2018, Franco had to spend three weeks in the sub-jail at Pala before he got bail. Though Franco was stripped of his pastoral duties at the Jalandhar diocese in Punjab, the Church leadership has supported him.
Sr Lucy and a few other nuns of the order had staged a hunger strike near the Kerala High Court premises in Kochi for weeks last year, demanding the arrest of Franco.
On August 17, the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) had wrote to the family of Sister Lucy to take her back home as she has been expelled from the congregation at Manathavady in Kerala for allegedly disobeying the church authorities and on disciplinary grounds.
In the letter dated August 10, the FCC cited multiple reasons for the expulsion of Sister Lucy from the congregation and asked her family to take her back home.
The congregation had alleged that Sister Lucy defied the rules of the church.
“The letter stated that I am consistently been defying the laws of the congregation, following lifestyle that does not abide by the practices of the church, did not abide by the transfer order in 2015, published a book and bought a car and travels frequently without the permission of the congregation,” said Sister Lucy.
“I have appealed against the decision before the Catholic Church in Rome to reconsider and recall the decree of her dismissal from the congregation,” Sister Lucy said adding that she had only discharged her duty to help those hapless sisters who had to undergo such trauma in their evangelical journey.
“Unfortunately, my attempt to stand with exploited nuns have been seen as an act of rebellion," Sister Lucy said adding that from this May on, she had been isolated and tortured mentally.
According to Sister Lucy, new three nuns who are sharing her room at the convent sharing are not talking to her at all.
“It looks like they have been put in the same room to keep an eye on me. It is mentally frustrating. Additionally, they have put new CCTV cameras also inside the convent to watch my movements. We need CCTV cameras to keep an eye on outsiders. But do we need one to watch what is happening inside. That too, inside a convent,” Sister Lucy asked.
Sr Lucy belongs to the Mananthavady diocese, Wayanad, and has been in service since 1985. Additionally she is also an aided school teacher since 1997.