‘She stays in hotels, meets people’: Kerala Church slanders Sister Lucy in court

Sister Lucy Kalappura filed a plea at the Mananthavady Munsiff Magistrate court, challenging her expulsion from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in August 2019.
‘She stays in hotels, meets people’: Kerala Church slanders Sister Lucy in court
‘She stays in hotels, meets people’: Kerala Church slanders Sister Lucy in court
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The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) of the Catholic church in Kerala reacted to Sister Lucy Kalappura’s plea against her dismissal from the congregation, by levelling more morally demeaning allegations against her. On January 28, the FCC filed an affidavit at the Mananthavady Munsiff Magistrate court. The 15-page affidavit contains a long list of allegations against the nun, accusing her of leading an “indisciplined life”.

Sister Lucy has been facing harassment from the church and its authorities ever since she supported the nun and gave a statement against the rape-accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal. In August 2019, the nun of the Mananthavady diocese in Wayanad was dismissed from the congregation for allegedly going against the beliefs of the church and leading a lifestyle in violation of the FCC laws, including writing and publishing poems, as well as buying and driving a car.

When she challenged the claims in court, the Superior General of FCC, in an affidavit, accused her of staying in hotels and associating with people who wanted to defame the church. The affidavit was filed in response to the notice sent by the court.

The FCC claimed that Sister Lucy was absent from the convent for more than 51 days in the last six months. “For the last three years, the plaintiff has been leading an indisciplined life, which is totally unwarranted as far as a sanyasini (nun) is concerned. We have even received information that she was residing in hotels at times, attending various meetings and going with persons who want to cause a disturbance in the Congregation,” the affidavit stated, adding that her “actions do not suit a nun.”

“She even purchased her own car without getting permission from the congregation and she was travelling during nights, uncontrolled and beyond what a normal woman will do,” it read.

Despite all the allegations and moves to slander her, Sister Lucy has not lost her spirit to fight back. “The only thing that pains me is that, how much ever a woman is harassed in this country, no one comes to her support, even if the on the other end are strong and wrong,” Sister Lucy told TNM.

Sister Lucy’s expulsion has been stayed by the court for an interim period.

Another setback

In January last week, in another setback to the nun, the Kerala police closed the defamation case filed by Sister Lucy against a priest of Mananthavady Diocese. In 2019, Father Noble Thomas Parackal had released a video on YouTube, raising some baseless allegation by showing the CCTV visuals of two journalists entering the Karakkamala convent along with Sister Lucy through the back gate. He portrayed the incident as two men having an illicit relationship with the nun. Despite this video being still out in public, Kerala police have closed the case.

When TNM contacted the investigation officer of Mananthavady Vellamunda police station, the officer said that the case was charged based on the complaint. “But when we examined the video later, it was found that the charges won’t stand. If the complainant wants, she can move to court,” said the official.

"I will not stop, I will keep on fighting,” a determined nun said. “Even if I fail in the fight, I will not consider it as a loss. I am an ordinary woman, fighting injustice alone. And this is for the scores of ordinary women like me out there," she told TNM.

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