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Explosive confessions of an ex-nun


T SATISAN | Kochi, June 8, 2012 16:38
Tags : mary chandy | Nanma Niranjavale Swasthi |

Once a quiet, god-fearing nun who worked for the Lord within the establishment, Sister Mary Chandy is now a pariah for the same church she served for decades. Mary, who left home at the tender age of 13 to become a nun, was forced to flee the church some 40 years later. The reason: she was disgusted by what she calls ‘sexual anarchy’ among the clergy. That was 1998. Today, Mary runs a small shelter for 23 orphans in Kalanadakkolli village near Pulapalli in north Kerala; and is busy taking on the Church establishment.

The local church and its folk of course continue to shun the ‘former nun’ for her outspoken diatribe against life in the convent. As per Mary, she saw things which she never wanted to see under the Church during her tenure as a nun. She claims she was once approached by a priest for sexual favours. But the last straw was when she saw a fellow nun attempting to kill her baby born out of wedlock. Her intervention saved the life of the new born but naturally invited the wrath of the Church. Leaving the Church was the only option left, and she escaped the convent wearing the dress of a man.

Today, Mary says that she might have left the Church, but never left Christ. She kept on looking after orphans, god’s own children. But here too, she claims, that the Church put roadblocks on her path. The powerful Church establishment created hurdles whenever she tried to establish an orphanage. She had to run from place to place with her 'children’ to finally settle down at Pulapalli. In a bid to speak out against the anomalies she witnessed, Sister Mary Chandy recently wrote and published her autobiography Nanma Niranjavale Swasthi, which chronicles some explosive facts about her experiences as a nun.

Sister Mary Chandy talks to TSI's T. Satisan on her struggle.

Many suggest that the anomalies you have raised about the Church are small issues which are a part and parcel of every mammoth organisation?

The size of the organization is not the crux of the issue. But, egoism is the curse. Egoism prevails not only at the top, but also at the bottom. Cardinal Alancherry, after taking over charge, went to all places in Wayanad, but did not visit Pulapalli. Why? No believer asks this question because they are the slaves of the Church. Even the Pope had read about my autobiography “Nanma Niranjavale Swasthi”, but still the Cardinal did not come here. Most of the Christians in Pulapalli are Roman Catholics. Almost 90% of the priests have read about my book. They say that I have insulted the Church. But, no priest has met me and discussed the issue. They do not have any evidence against me. But, I do have numerous evidences against Church and priests. Let them call the office-bearers of the Church at Bishop House. I shall give evidences against the establishment. Every hierarchical priest has the right to question wrong-doers. But, they do not do it. Many sexually abused girls are killed and abandoned. My Baptism and school certificates are in the Church. They are not even returning those to me.

Does the Church have any mechanism to conduct enquiries into your allegations?

There’s no system for enquiry there. All they are interested in is liquor and chicken!

So are you saying that no one has been punished for any wrong doing?

None! Money of the faithful is used for this. Even divine kurbana has become costly these days. When I approached the Vicar for the ritual kurbana in connection with the 7th day of my mother’s death, he interrogated me and I resisted hence no kurbana. When I visited my mom’s tomb, I was interrogated again. I was shouted at and asked to go out. I said: “No, this is the fruit of the poor men’s money”. But, I can say that there are good priests and nuns too.

But won’t the allegations leveled by you against the Church come under the Indian Penal Code?

The Indian Penal Code is very much applicable to the Church. But, ultimately, money power prevails.

Have you ever complained to police about the wrongdoings in the Church?

So far, I have not complained to the police. Because I do not have any personal grudge against anybody. My book will expose the Church leaders. That is enough and that is my policy. When they were enjoying the life of roses, I was begging for the sake of my 'children’.

Do you think that a day will come someone will apologise for the wrongdoings of the Church?

Yes, they will have to do it. There is no other way.

Are there other nuns in the Church who approach you for consolation or solution to their problems?

Yes, lots of them approach me from Kerala, Andhra, Mumbai and North…

How do you help them?

I try and give suitable and appropriate advice. And I am glad to say that many of them return happier after meeting me. The problem is 99% of the deserters cannot stand the social stigma. I am bold, that is why I wrote what I experienced. Those who are leveling allegation against me are cowards. That is why they do not come and ask me about it.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017