February 20, 2009
Sister Jesme, a nun in the Indian state of Kerali, wrote an autobiography called “Amen”, in which she openly wrote about sexual abuse behind the doors of convents. She and other nuns were abused by priests in the convent.
The autobiography had to wait until the nun withdrew from the convent in question, so that it could be published, however, even then, the Church severely criticised it. According to the media, the Church even offered money to the author so that the publication might be stopped. Furthermore, the Church tried to discredit the nun, calling her mentally ill.
- When a woman is molested, sexually harassed, will she speak out? Only one out of a thousand will speak out. So think of nuns! They will never speak out. They fear that their nun hood will be lost – sister Jesme, the author said.
The first edition disappeared from bookshelves in an instant. The second edition followed, which was also sold-out, and now the third edition hit the shelves.
- Thirty-three years cannot be penned down in 180 pages but there are points the I want to make about the capitation fee, the quarrels that happen within the church, about the homo-sexuality, the hetero-sexuality – sister Jesme.
However, the resistance was great and former colleagues at the convent disagree with Jesme. One of the sisters told Jesme she would sit in a corner and pray for all of her books to be burned so that not a single person reads a copy.
Indian nun claims sex is rife within Catholic Church
An Indian nun has stunned the Catholic Church with a confessional autobiography claiming widespread sexual abuse and bullying within its cloisters.
Bookshops throughout India's Christian communities in Kerala have already sold out of Amen, the autobiography of Sister Jesme, who has alleged that priests and nuns not only broke their vows of celibacy with each other but regularly forced novices to have sex with them.
The Catholic Church in India is mired in a series of sexual controversies, and has only just begun to recover from the dismissal of a senior bishop who "adopted" an attractive 26-year-old female companion as his "daughter".
The book by the former nun reveals how as a young novice she was propositioned in the confession box by a priest who cited biblical references to "divine kisses". Later she was cornered by a lesbian nun at a college where they were teaching. "She would come to my bed in the night and do lewd acts and I could not stop her," she claims.
When she was sent to Bangalore to stay with a priest known for his piety, he lectured her about the need for "physical love" and later assaulted her.
"Back in his room, he tried to fondle me and when I resisted, got up and asked angrily if I had seen a man. When I said no, he stripped himself, ejaculated and forced me to strip," she writes.
According to Sister Jesme, senior church officials twice tried to admit her into rehabilitation clinics and claimed she had mental problems after she complained about the scale of sexual abuse and the number of illicit affairs between nuns and priests.
Dr Paul Thelekkat, a spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Catholic church said he had some sympathy for sister Jesme, and respected her freedom to express her views, but he believed her claims were trivial. "How far what she says is well-founded I can't say, but the issues are not very serious. We're living with human beings in a community and she should realise this is part of human life," he told the Daily Telegraph.