The Catholic Church haunts a nun who wants to give up the order
T Satisan, Kochi
Sister Mary Sebastian (45), member of the CMC Church and teacher of Nasreth Bhavan Convent, near Pala, Kottayam District, gives up her religious habit, the uniform of the nuns. She is in the same path of Sister Jesmy who left the Church about a decade before due to various alleged tortures and harassment she uderwent and various financial irregularities she had to witness. She says, she has been undergoing acute mental torture since the last 18 – 19 months, thanks to her resoution not to acquiesce to the malpractices going on in the church and her earnest stand to question them. First she approached the Church for 3 years of exclaustraion. But, Church did not grant it, because they were afraid of further applications.
Then Mary approached Kerala Catholic Chrch Reformation Movement in-charge of the rehabilitatin of former priests and nuns. She did not get a positive response from there even. When she approached Human Rights Commissiona and Women’s Commission, harassment took a new turn. The Church filed a police case for theft.
Dispute started when Sister Mary questioned the siphoning of monies in the name of imaginary teachers of the educational insittution run for the physically challenged people. She had also questioned the keeping of the money, coming from abroad, idle without spending for any purpose.
Mary said, Balabhavan children of Standard V to X used to share with her the details of the over work they were forced to do by the authorities. When she questioned this, the authorities retaliated by complaining to the police and the Child Welfare Committee that she had ill-treated the children. She is fed up with the torture and the disregard the convent authorities and the inmates used to practise towards her. She would not reconcile with the corruption any more. No one talks to her. She takes and has the food from the stock of the cooked stuff. Even though Mary’s family members know about these, they suppress it silently, because they are unable to oppose the Church. Parents are old.
Mary does not tell the parents about her plight. Two false cases have been filed in the police station. Mary says, Pala police called her and spoke to her in abusive language. She says, there is no mutual affection and trust in the convent. There is no room for truth, justice and humanity there. They even portray her as a lunatic. They might have even fabricated the evidences for it. It is easy for them. Even when she seeks treatment in the Church-owned hospital for some minor diseases they can alter the documents and estabish that she came to psychiatry department for treament.
Sister Mary is a teacher in the Kozhuvannal St. John’s Higher Seconday School. Convent collects her whole salary and gives Rs 100 for expenses. She has handed over the salary to the Mother for the last few months. She told that she had got the permission to relinquish the religious habit. Since she has been a nun for the last 25 years, she is sad to put an end to it, but no other option before her.
Even after leaving the Church Mary plans to continue the celibate’s life and teaching. She has asked for alimony when she goes out. She is in need of a house for safe life and social work. Protection of the nuns leaving the Church, reformation of the Church and career guidance for the students are her future plans.
This correspondent understands that lot of Marys are in quitting spree for the same reasons, Mary points out. But, most of them are not bold enough like Mary or Jesmy. They are sure, they will not get any support from their own families if they quit the Church. Sister Jesmy had clearly mentioned this aspect in her autobiograpy and her speeches. So, despite their dissatisfaction they are bound to remain what they are … !