By Saritha S Balan
Karakkamala, Nov. 28, 2018: Sister Lucy Kalapura had never hesitated to declare her solidarity with the nuns who fought against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar.
Accused in the case of raping a nun, the prelate received a warm reception when reached Punjab after the Kerala High Court granted him bail. In stark contrast, Sister Lucy and others who spoke up against him are being isolated, threatened and abused.
Sister Lucy, attached with the Karakkamala convent of Mananthavady Syro-Malabar diocese, has been alienated mostly by other nuns and priests. She also gets constant threats on social media, for her stand in the rape case.
The 42-year-old nun says she does not feel fear, but disdain. “I am deeply shocked by the acceptance Franco gets, most of the nuns and priests have rallied behind him. And the Church has warned whistle-blower Father Augustine Vattoly for asking for justice,” she told thenewsminute.com.
he Syro Malabar Church has warned Father Vattoly to face consequences if he continues to be part of the fight seeking justice for the rape survivor nun.
“I am not scared about the threats or the abuses on social media. I am saddened by the death of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara. I believe that he must have been under severe pressure and tension for it was not an easy thing to testify against someone as powerful as Franco,” Sister Kalapura explains.
“The day after Father (kattuthara’s) death, my mother called me, she was worried, asked me to be cautious. But I am not worried or tensed, after all what is there to worry? Death doesn’t worry me” she says. According to her, Father Kattuthara’s death was a murder. “He died out of the pressure he suffered.”
Father Kattuthara, a witness against Bishop Franco in nun rape case, found dead in his room on October 22, a week after Bishop Mulakkal was released on bail.
Sister Kalapura continues to support Father Vattoly. “His acts are spiritual. His path is right. He is teaching spiritual discipline to those who received Franco outside the jail, for they have deviated from the path of God,” she says.
Unlike the five Missionaries of Jesus nuns, who support the rape survivor, Sister Kalapura has not got any direct threats, but has been facing abuse consistently on social media. “I welcome difference of opinion, but the messages and comments I get on Facebook target me, seek to taint my character. Many use heinous language to abuse me, how can it be justified?” she asks.
She has filed complaints with the State Women’s Commission, the Director General of Police and even higher authorities of the Church against the threats and abuses, but has got no answers so far.
What also upsets her is the kind of ostracism she faces inside the convent as well as in the parish. Some people in the Church called her mother in an apparent warning to her.
She currently teaches in a Church school where nun colleagues do not speak to her. The nuns in the convent too avoid her as if she had committed a crime. The parish priest had to withdraw his order asking her not to teach catechism following public protest. “The priest who asked me to keep away from a function after I declared my support for the nuns doesn’t even speak to me, he behaves as if I don’t exist,” she says.
Sister Kalapura said the five Missionaries of Jesus nuns too have similar experience at their convent in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district. “I can’t even think how the followers of God can isolate those who stand for justice,” Sister Kalapura says.
The Franciscan Clarist Congregation nun keeps herself engaged by visiting patients at home. “Those who oppose me have spread evil rumors that I even have physical relationships with the male patients I serve. Once someone hears something like this, they would want to keep a distance from me,” she rues.
The nun, who maintains her smile despite such opposition, says she chose to become a nun as she always wanted to do good things for people. “I believe I can serve with a smile, which I will do till my end,” she asserts.
(Source: The News Minute, November 28, 2018)