The superior general of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation has dismissed from religious life Sister Lucy Kalapura, who has been accused of several acts of disobedience, including a protest of the handling of another nun’s accusation that a bishop serially raped her.
Sr. Ann Joseph, superior general of the community, sent a letter to Sr. Lucy on August 5 saying that she has been dismissed from the religious community, a decision confirmed by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
Sr. Lucy has led a life against the principles of religious life, the community says, by disobeying a transfer order, publishing poems after having been denied permission to do so, buying a vehicle, withholding her salary from the congregation, and participating in a protest against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jullundur, who has been charged with several instances of raping a nun of a different congregation.
The letter from Sr. Ann Joseph said that Sr. Lucy “did not show the needed remorse and you failed to give a satisfactory explanation for your lifestyle in violation of the proper law of the FCC”, according to The News Minute.
Sr. Lucy had been sent a letter of warning on January 1, asking that she appear before Sr. Ann by January 9 to explain her disobediences, or face expulsion from the congregation.
In January Sr. Lucy said that the congregation was trying to silence her, and denied any wrongdoing.
She was sent a second letter of warning in February, according to The News Minute. India Times reports that she “failed to respond to a notice issued against her in March”.
The congregation’s General Council, held on May 11, voted unanimously to dismiss Sr. Lucy, and asked for confirmation from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
The congregation granted confirmation, writing, “the same professed one remains freed from her religious profession and other obligations and separated from her Religious Congregation, and to be considered dismissed from her religious life, and to be considered as a simple layperson the other things to be done what are to be done according to the law.”
Sr. Lucy has 10 days to appeal the dismissal to the congregation.
“In case you accept this decree of dismissal without any recourse, as per canon law and as per the decree of confirmation, you will be freed from the obligations of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience that you have taken in the Franciscan Clarist Congregation and you will have no more rights and duties in the Franciscan Clarist Congregation and hence, you are to leave the present community within 10 days from the reception of this communication, after having handed over your religious habit to the superior of your local community,” the letter reads.
Sr. Lucy said that “there is no fault on my part. I will not move out from the convent and I will fight against this (dismissal) legally.”
She is currently living at a convent near Mananthavady.
In the January letter of warning sent to Sr. Lucy, the superior general wrote that she joined a protest regarding Bishop Mulakkal “without the permission of your superior. You have published articles in some non-Christian newspapers and weeklies … gave interviews to ‘Samayam’ without seeking permission from the provincial superior. Through Facebook, channel discussions and the articles, you belittled the Catholic leadership by making false accusations against it and tried to bring down the sacraments. You tried to defame FCC also. Your performance through social media as a religious sister was culpable, arising grave scandal.”
The letter also said Sr. Lucy failed to obey a transfer order given her in 2015 by her provincial superior, and that she published a book of poems despite being denied permission to do so, and used 50,000 Indian rupees ($700) from the congregation’s account “without proper permission” to do so.
Sr. Kalapura is also accused of buying a car for about $5,670 and learning to drive without permission, and failing to entrust her salary from December 2017.
Sr. Ann Joseph called these acts “a grave infringement of the vow of poverty.”
The superior general added that Sr. Kalapura has been corrected and warned several times by her provincial over her “improper behaviour and violations of religious discipline.”
“Instead of correcting yourself, you are simply denying the allegations against you stating that you have to live your own beliefs, ideologies and conviction. You are repeatedly violating the vows of obedience and poverty. The evangelization and social work you do should be according to the FCC values, principles and rules. The present mode of your life is a grave violation of the profession you have made,” Sr. Ann Joseph wrote.
Another nun of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, Sister Lissy Vadakkel, was transferred earlier this year from Muvattupuzha to Vijawada.
Sister Alphonas Abraham, superior of the FCC’s Nirmala Province, said in February that Sr. Lissy’s transfer was unrelated to her acting as a witness in the case against Bishop Mulakkal.