Two years after “Amen” — the tell-all autobiography of Sister Jesme — threw light on the sexual exploitation of nuns, the powerful Catholic church of Kerala is facing a fresh round of attack from another former nun.
Sister Mary Chandy, 67, who left the church after 40 years of service, is set to release her biographical sketch 'Nanma Niranajavare Swasthi' in the first week of May.
Sister Chandy says she was forced to quit 12 years ago after she resisted a rape attempt by a priest.
“My book is an expression of the sufferings I had passed through as a nun, and the debauchery I witnessed in the convents,” she said. “Most are inclined to lust than spirituality.”
In her book, she describes how she ran away from home at the age of 13 to join the church and how her reward had been four decades of exploitation and abandonment.
Most often, priests and nuns fail to keep their vows of chastity, she said. Those who refuse to succumb are viciously targeted.
After Sister Chandy left the Congregation of Daughter of Presentation of Mary, many wrote her off, but today she successfully runs an orphanage in north Kerala’s Wayanad district.
“Service is in my blood. I don’t need an address or a stamp to prove my resolve,” she said.
Jose Pazhukaran, a Malayalam writer, has helped Sister Chandy to put together her memoirs.
Bookshop owners are already flooded with inquiries.
Most have given bulk orders after word spread that the book will be more revealing than Sister Jesme’s 2009 autobiography, which was a graphic documentation of the sexual harassment and repression she had to face.
Jesme’s autobiography included a poignant version by her of how the convent authorities tried to twice prove that she had mental problems and get her admitted into a rehab centre after she reportedly spoke out against the malpractices within the Order.