Kerala

Several nuns have stories of abuse: Sister Lucy

Sister Lucy Kalapura at the launch of her memoir in Kochi on Monday. Writer Benyamin looks on.

Sister Lucy Kalapura at the launch of her memoir in Kochi on Monday. Writer Benyamin looks on.  

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Nun’s memoir, Karthavinte Namathil launched in Kochi

Several nuns harbour stories of abuse within them but for such instances to see the light of day, Kerala's society must be able to accept rather than punish or ostracise women who speak about such experiences, said Sr. Lucy Kalapura.

“When women speak about instances of abuse, society turns against them. They are asked to leave the nunnery and punished. They are even denied basic rights,” Sr. Lucy said, at the launch of her memoir, Karthavinte Namathil, in the city on Monday.

Sections of the book that point to the sexual abuse of and cruelty towards nuns sparked a severe backlash recently, with protesters demanding the book's ban.

‘Mental torture’ at the hands of authorities at a convent where she worked as a superior between 2000 and 2003 spurred her to write. The memoir stemmed from the records of her experience at the convent, Sr. Lucy said.

Accusations

The reaction to accusations of rape against Bishop Franco Mulakkal and the church’s backlash against the nuns who protested against him also provoked her to work on the memoir.

“The book is a contribution towards the message that no woman should have to face such experiences,” she said.

“It is not directed against a single person but against the suppression and male dominance that women are forced to endure in Kerala. We need a society that values and respects women, and our freedom and strength,” Sr. Lucy added.

She was expelled from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation earlier this year for protesting against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

Writer Benyamin, who participated in the launch, wondered why an institution that is as powerful as the church was worried about a book.

“The fear comes from the fact that they have done wrong,” he said.

Besides the cruelty, the book traces Sr. Lucy's transformation into a nun, Mr. Benyamin said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 10:02:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/several-nuns-have-stories-of-abuse-sister-lucy/article30260004.ece

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