The fifth nun, who protested against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has also received a letter from the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) congregation. This one, however, came with a warning. Ten days after the Superior General of the MJ Congregation asked four of the five nuns to leave their convent in Kuravilangad, Kerala, where the rape survivor nun is residing, the fifth nun, Neena Rose Edathil, has been sent a similar letter, dated January 12.
The letter to Sister Neena, which has surfaced now, carries a more critical tone when compared to the letters that the four nuns - Sister Anupama, Sister Josephine, Sister Alphy and Sister Ancitta - received, in which they were asked to asked to return to the various convents they were previously assigned by the Missionaries of Jesus.
Sister Neena has been asked to report to Generalate at Aradhana Bhavan, Jalandhar Cantonment, Punjab, and meet Superior General Regina Kadamthottu personally on January 26, “to present her defence for abdicating the basic tenets of religious life and resorting to activities which amount to the sheer violation of their congregational rules”.
Sister Neena was appointed a member of the Kuravilangad community in 2016. However, according to the Superior General, following a reshuffle in 2017, she was “not cooperating” with the new superior of the community. She has been accused of paying “scant heed” to her superiors in 2017 and 2018 when she was “counselled to shed the hostile attitude and live in unity and harmony with others in the community”.
“It is highly regretted that despite my reminder on June 20, 2018, you were carrying on with the rebellious posture refusing to be part of the community and its daily religious life. Despite repeated reminders from your superiors, instructing you to mend your present way of life, which is not in accordance with our religious vows and congregational discipline, you have refused to fall in line, thereby raising a serious question mark on your own commitment to the vow of obedience and disciplined community life,” the letter from Sr Regina reads.
Like the warning given to the four nuns, Sister Neena has also been told that the MJ Congregation and its members will not make any sort of intervention or interference into the due process of law and justice. However, she has been asked not to use the case as an alibi “to compromise their affirmed religious vows and principles of community life”.
While asking her to report in person to the Superior General with an explanation, she has also been warned that if she failed to comply, “it will be construed as a deliberate refusal to abide by the legitimate order of the Mother General, thereby challenging the authority canonically”. It also said that in such an event, left with no other option, the Council will proceed with further canonically approved punitive proceedings against her.
Incidentally, Sister Lucy of Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), who had joined the nuns in the protest against Bishop Franco, had also received a similar warning letter.
Her Superior General, Sister Ann, had shot off a letter listing out a series of allegations against Sr Lucy, including disobeying a transfer order, publishing poems, learning driving and buying a car and joining the nuns in the protest.
According to the letter, Sister Lucy was given several “corrections and warnings” from her provincial superior for her “improper behaviour and violations of religious discipline”. She was accused of violating the vows of obedience and poverty and living according to her own beliefs, ideologies and conviction. She received a “the threat of dismissal from the FCC” and was asked to meet Sister Ann personally and “rectify the grave faults” she has committed till now.
After the four nuns received the letter from the Superior General of the MJ Congregation, they refused to oblige to the transfer order. The survivor nun also wrote a letter to the Kerala Chief Minister, pointing out that her life will be in danger if the nuns were transferred. She had also urged the CM to intervene and provide them with security.