Sister Lucy Kalapura, who was barred from performing duties at her church after she participated in a protest in Kerala against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has now been sent a notice threatening her with expulsion from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) that she has been serving. The nun has been asked to mend her ways and "rectify grave faults".
Accusing Sr Kalapura of "grave violations" of the "vow of obedience and poverty", Superior General of FCC Sr Ann Joseph has asked the former to present herself before the authorities with an explanation on January 9 (today) or face expulsion. Issuing the "first canonical warning" with the threat of dismissal from the FCC, the letter stated, "If you fail to reach the Generalate as required, it will be considered as wilful refusal from your part to comply with the legitimate order of your major superior and the next canonical steps as per norms of law will be taken".
One of the main charges against Sr Kalapura is her participation in the protest that the nuns had undertaken in September, 2018 against the lack of action against Bishop Franco Mulakkal. "You went to Ernakulam High Court junction and participated in the protest held by the SOS Action Council on September 20, 2018, without the permission of your superior. You have published articles in some non-Christian newspapers and weeklies like Mangalam, Madhyamam, etc and 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...," the letter stated.
In addition, a slew of other charges have also been raised against Sr Kalapura in the letter, including a failure to comply with a transfer order issued about three years ago. The letter has also taken note of Sr Kalapura publishing her collection of poems. Sr Kalapura went ahead and published her book, despite denial of permission for the same by FCC authorities, the letter claimed. The superior also accused Sr Kalapura of using Rs 50,000 (from the FCC account) without prior permission for publishing of the book.
The nun, who is currently serving in Wayanad, has also been accused of violating the "vow of obedience" for "learning driving, taking licence and buying vehicle", without the sanctions of the FCC. In addition, the letter stated that Sr Kalapura "administered a thing of very high monetary value" (around Rs 4 lakh) by buying the car and has not "entrusted" her salary from December 2017, as is the practice by nuns.
This is not the first time Sr Kalapura has been at the receiving end of the church's action following her act of solidarity with the nuns protesting against Bishop Mulakkal. In September, she was barred from performing duties at the church she was serving in Wayanad. However, the ban was soon revoked following opposition from the devotees.
The warning against Sr Kalapura comes close on heels with a similar letter issued against Father Augustine Vattoly, convenor of the ‘Save our Sisters’ (SOS) campaign. In November, two months after the hunger strike staged by nuns in Kochi, Fr Vattoly was prohibited by the church from holding protests and was warned of ecclesiastical action in case of disobedience.