Ex-nun’s confessions set to rock Kerala Church

via http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Exnuns-confessions-set-to-rock-Kerala-Church/425407/ published on February 19, 2009




st1:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;

:Shaju Philip



Already reeling under several controversies, the Kerala
Catholic Church is facing fresh embarrassment from a tell-all autobiography
written by a nun who recently quit the Order alleging harassment from

‘Amen — an autobiography of a
nun’, released last week, is written by Dr Sister Jesme, 52, who was the
Principal of St Mary’s College, Thrissur, till last August when she quit the
Congregation of Mother Carmelite (CMC).

“Dedicated to Jesus”, Amen
is explicit in its details of the sexual repression and harassment behind the
Church walls as well as the draconian rules and “greed” of the Order.

Jesme claims that since the book was
released, she has been getting calls pledging solidarity.

“Nuns mingle with the whole
spectrum of the community around them. They teach students, comfort the aged
and nurse the sick; still the brides of the Church remain an enigma. My work
would throw light on the misunderstood convent life, engulfed in darkness,”
says Jesme.

Apart from the Abhaya murder in
which a nun and priests are accused, the KeralaChurch
was recently in the news for a priest “adopting” a 26-year-old woman.

Jesme’s autobiography includes
a poignant version by her of how the convent authorities tried to twice prove
that she had mental problems and get her admitted into a rehab centre after
she reportedly spoke out against the malpractices within the Order.

Starting with her first days in
the Church, 30 years ago, she talks of priets forcing novices to have
relations with them and the closet homosexuality within nun ranks,
the Church reckons as the dirtiest thing possible”. “If nuns developed
unusual interest in each other, authorities would deploy other inmates to watch
she writes.

The book says Jesme herself
was forced into such a relationship by a fellow nun, and that her complaints to
a senior nun were ignored. According to her, the other nun said she preferred
such a relationship as it ruled out pregnancy. There were others who had
affairs with priests, she writes.

Another passage in Amen deals
with a chance encounter Jesme had with a priest in Bangalore while on her way to Dharwar to
attend a UGC refresher course in English. “My plan was to stay at the
waiting room at the Bangalore
railway station. But sisters in the convent gave me the address of a pious,
decent priest. When I reached Bangalore,
the priest was waiting to receive me. He embraced me and took me to his
presbytery. After breakfast, he took me to Lalbagh (Botanical Garden) and
showed me several pairs cuddling behind trees. He also gave a sermon on the
necessity of physical love and described the illicit affairs certain bishops
and priests had.”

Later, when they were in his
room, she writes, he stripped and made her do the same.

Jesme claims that while nuns in
the lower ranks were punished if caught for even minor offences, the Church
turned a blind eye to those superior or with influence for major

Talking about the Church’s
draconian rules, Jesme writes in the book that she was not allowed to go
home when her father died, or to even pray some extra hours for his soul.

“I was able to see my father barely 15 minutes before the funeral. The alibi of
the superiors was that the then senior sisters were not even lucky enough to
see the bodies of their parents.”

During her time in the Church,
Jesme often ran into problems with superiors. She was called “cine nun” after
she provided office facility for a film festival at St Mary’s College, leading
to the first campus film from the college, as well as when she shared dais with
a sex worker for the release of a book on the life of a prostitute.

Since quitting CMC, Jesme has
been staying alone in a flat in Kozhikode. She
told The Indian Express she was still living as a “nun”. “I go for Church mass
daily and have no plans to get married.”

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 characters available


Latest Articles from Divisive Agenda

Did You Know?