This is an overdue post that was waiting for salvation,in my drafts.Something was stopping me from posting this.Call me a pseudosecularist or whatever.But I would not have felt this if it was about my faith or if about musilms.If it were so,I would have been the first to write on this.But having been associated with nuns for over 10 years ( I did my schooling in a convent) and moreover,I feel ashamed that it happened in my so-called enlightened state and above all,fear of trolls ( Bcoz by now,I am familiar with Hindu trolls and Muslims trolls,but never encountered this type ) ..And most importantly,only a keralite can understand my dilemma,the enviornment in the state,where priests and nuns are seen with atmost respect by people from all walks of life.But oh yeah,now I have been inspired by Indyeah’s post and as she says,it amazes me too that nobody is speaking about this. And now I now what the hell this pseudosecularism is..
Yes,I am talking about Sister Jesme’s autobiography,Amen,where she talks about the sexual exploitation of nuns in the church by priests..and about the problems of homosexuality and hetrosexuality among those working in the church.
Honestly speaking,this news was not ‘so surprising and shocking’ to me as I am yet to get over the hangover from the ongoing Sister Abhaya murder case– a Roman Catholic nun, who was found dead in a water well in St Pius X convent in Kottayam, India, on 27 March 1992.
She was 19 years old at the time of her death and was a member of St. Joseph’s Congregation for women under the Knanaya Catholic diocese of Kottayam, Kerala in India.. On the fateful day she had got up from sleep early at around 4 am to study for her exam, had gone down to the kitchen of the hostel to get water from the fridge. Later her body was found in the well outside the kitchen in the convent/hostel compound.
It has been investigated and reinvestigated by various police agencies of Kerala and various teams within Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI-India) for 16 long years. On Dec 02, 2008 and on December 29, 2008, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), made a statement before P.D. Soman, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam. According to CBI, their brain-mapping and narco analysis investigations revealed that Sister Abhaya woke up on March 27, 1992, early in the morning, descended the staircase and went to the hostel kitchen for taking drinking water from the fridge. Sr Sefi hit Abhaya with an axe (‘kodali’) thrice on the back of the head, near the right ear and on the head. She then collapsed. Thinking that Abhaya was dead, Fr. Thomas Kottoor, and Fr. Jose Poothrikkayil, assisted by Sr. Sephy, lifted Sr Abhaya’s body, took it out of the kitchen and dumped in a well behind the building.
On Dec 02, 2008 and on December 29, 2008, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), made a statement before P.D. Soman, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam. According to CBI, their brain-mapping and narco analysis investigations revealed that Sister Abhaya woke up on March 27, 1992, early in the morning, descended the staircase and went to the hostel kitchen for taking drinking water from the fridge. Sr Sefi hit Abhaya with an axe (‘kodali’) thrice on the back of the head, near the right ear and on the head. She then collapsed. Thinking that Abhaya was dead, Fr. Thomas Kottoor, and Fr. Jose Poothrikkayil, assisted by Sr. Sephy, lifted Sr Abhaya’s body, took it out of the kitchen and dumped in a well behind the building.
There are infinite murders remaining unsolved but I am glad that judiciary has been consistent on pestering the CBI to bring out the truth,that too for 16 long years-a timeline that underlines the undercurrent pressure to wipe off the truth,not to talk about the money involved in suppressing the truth and mop it down under the carpets. Read more here..
I went off track,but I really wanted to write on Sister Abhaya case,but didn’t.
Sister Jesme’s relevations are not really shocking,infact there has been many a reports on how rotten some systems within the church are.Recalling the Muringoor Retreat investigation that was drowned in deep sea..
The Divine Retreat Centre in Kerala’s Muringoor’s claim to fame is that it is the largest Catholic healing centre in the world. However, there is a catch. More than 975 mysterious deaths have happened in the centre – that Kerala Police is now investigating – and there have been allegations of rape and murder. The case is registered under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 342 (wrongful confinement) 324 voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 328 (causing hurt by poison etc with intent to commit an offence, 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.The other offences alleged include the conducting of a psychiatric institution without licence, administration of psychiatric drugs on several persons (15 persons are still at the centre).
The FIR also said the institution collected money by conducting religious functions and mentally hurt those who are opposed to the functioning of the institution.During 1996-2006, as many as 974 premature deaths occurred at the centre, and bodies were cremated without providing information to the police.The documents were allegedly forged to make it appear that the deaths were natural.Several persons are locked in cells. Persons showing violent signs are injected with some unknown drugs.Treatment is imparted by untrained persons. There are no medical practitioners at the centre.The investigation had been ordered by the High Court on the basis of the allegations contained in an anonymous letter.It was alleged that Fr Mathew Thadathil had made an inmate pregnant and she delivered a child. Celin Lopez of Alappuzha allegedly went missing from the centre.IAS and IPS officials were allegedly extending illegal assistance to the centre which allegedly was receiving foreign funds.
The center draws around 10,000 people for its weekly retreats, conducted in seven languages. It has served more than 10 million people from all over the world since 1990.
Congress and K.M Mani were the happiest people in this world,when SC asked the state government to stop the investigation.So much of people in the circle uh?
These are the two instances ,of great importance,that I can recall now.There are infinte such instances ,like the muder of a 24 years old nun,Aupa Mary..
Pappachan, a cook who works at the Bishop’s house at Kollam, alleged that his daughter Anupa Mary, a nun at the St Mary’s Convent at Kollam, committed suicide Monday after she was made to do all the chores in the convent and was sexually harassed by the head of the convent.[…]
Treesa Thomas, who has been a nun for the last 43 years, was forcibly admitted to the hospital to prevent her from spilling the beans on “illicit affairs between priests and sisters” and to make her statements look silly. It also claimed that a nun, who was unable to bear the torment, had ended her life in the convent sometime back.[….]
That goes on and on and on..This is no way an attempt to tarnish the good will or underplay the good deeds that they did in our society .Girls like me and millions others got chances of good education because of them. They have done lot of social service,but that should not stop us from calling spade a spade.My humble opinion is that it is high time that the structure of Church is reorganized-and the concentration of power is put to a stop.Also,it seems that people join seminary ,not for social service,but for associated power and authority.Kerala women’s commission has a proposal of minimum age of girls (18 yrs) to join seminary.
The Commission’s three recommendations to the state Government, after it received a complaint of exploitation faced by nuns inside the church, were: fix 18 years as the minimum age for enrolment as nuns and initiate legal action against parents who send underaged daughters to nunneries; protect the family wealth and property of girls who join nunneries and discourage the practice of donating property to the congregations they join; and formulate rehabilitation packages for nuns who quit or retire from the vocation.
“It’s the first time the government or the civil society has at least recognised the miseries faced by the nuns who are voiceless in the church,” says a nun. “A nun’s life is miserable. They are helpless when they are made to join the church. They are helpless if they leave the church as they would have no means to sustain their lives,” says Joseph Pulikkunnel, noted theologian and head of Osaana, a Christian reform movement.[…]
There are priests and nuns who live in luxury, frequent foreign lands and misuse the power and social good will..At the same time, there are priests and nuns who serve the poor and needy,the orphans, the slum people and all those needy people. But as in the case with any organized religion,the few rotten shadow the good deeds of the majority.
This issue assumes special significance in Kerala because the state has the country’s largest Christian population of seven million which constitutes 22 per cent of its total population. More importantly, over 75 per cent of the priests and nuns in India who belong to different churches and congregations hail from Kerala. I hope the Church stands up against these anti-divine elements in them, rather than just turning a blind eye..It is easy to brand them mental patients and try to fool the world.. Act wise before the few rotten apples spoil the whole basket.
P.s:Read outlook’s interview with Sister Jesme –10 Questions