Sister Lucy Kalappura – the nun dismissed by a Catholic congregation and served an order to vacate her convent in Kerala’s Wayanad – has refused to do so as her case is pending before a civil court.
“There are only three chances for appeal to the Supreme Tribunal. In all these they have rejected my appeal in an unjust manner… without listening to my part. They have taken a decision without trial. They have targeted me,” she said.
Sister Lucy was among a handful of nuns who openly protested against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal and demanded action against him – from both within the church and outside.
According to the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, Sister Lucy has been dismissed on disciplinary grounds for allegedly violating its rules of living.
The decision has been upheld in the highest forums of the Catholic community.
“Everybody knows the congregation has taken this decision to dismiss me only because I joined protests against Franco Mulakkal, who allegedly sexually abused a simple, humble, poor nun. The support I gave the oppressed one is the particular reason for my dismissal,” Sister Lucy told NDTV.
“Jesus said ‘speak and stand for the truth’. That’s why he was crucified. This is my duty. Not only my duty but also the congregation’s duty, which they were not ready to fulfill. They did not stand with the victim… they stood with the accused,” she said.
Sister Lucy, 56, has served as a nun since she was 17 years old.
“What did I violate? Rule of love? What wrong are they talking about? To publish poems? To have driving skills and buy a vehicle for my social and apostolic work? Is it a great violation of the rules of society? These are not the reasons. The particular reason is what I was informed of in the first warning letter – that I participated in the the protest against Mulakkal,” she stressed.
The “violations” listed by the FCC include publishing books and songs, and gaining monetary benefits from that act, buying and driving a car, but also for publicly speaking and protesting in support of a nun who has made allegations of rape against Mulakkal – an influential figure.
In 2019 the Franciscan Clarist Congregation also wrote to Sister Lucy’s mother, asking her to take back her daughter from the convent.
Nevertheless, Sister Lucy hopes she will be able to speak to Pope Francis on this issue.
“I think this issue hasn’t reached Pope Francis’ table. I am waiting for a chance to talk to him directly and working towards it. Across the world people who stand for justice and truth appreciate me… assure me of their support. So many Supreme Court and High Court lawyers have started discussions… assuring me of help. This is not one person’s issue. This is a larger issue,” she said.