Amen – Autobiography of a Nun, by Sister Jesme, alleges sexual abuse and corruption in Kerala’s Catholic Church

Friday, February 20, 2009, 14:35
This news item was posted in Uncategorized category and has 84 Comments so far.

Former nun’s autobiography alleges that sexual abuse and homosexuality is very high in the Catholic Church in Kerala, India. The book comes in the wake of a spate of sex scandals, nun suicides, and murders that shook Kerala’s clergy.

The Catholic Church in Kerala, India, which has barely recovered from the Sister Abhaya murder case, allegedly murdered by two priests and a nun, finds itself in another controversy.

52-year-old Sister Jesme, a former nun from Kerala, has blown the whistle on the alleged sexual abuse that nuns have to face in convents. Sister Jesme has written a book – Amen – Oru Kanyasthreeyude Atmakatha (Amen  – an autobiography of a nun,) that talks about the sexual harassment that she faced in the convent at the hands of both priests and nuns.

”At a retreat for novices, I noticed girls in my batch were unsettled about going to the confession chamber. I found that the priest there asked each girl if he could kiss them. I gathered courage and went in. He repeated the question. When I opposed, he quoted from the Bible which spoke of divine kisses.”

In her book, Sister Jesme has asserted that she first came face-to-face with sexual abuse when she was a Novitiate. She says in her book, ”At a retreat for novices, I noticed girls in my batch were unsettled about going to the confession chamber. I found that the priest there asked each girl if he could kiss them. I gathered courage and went in. He repeated the question. When I opposed, he quoted from the Bible which spoke of divine kisses.”Sister Jesme has alleged that another time, a nun forced her to have sex with her. ”I was sent to teach plus-two students in St Maria College. There, a new sister joined to teach Malayalam; she was a lesbian. When she tried to corner me, I had no way but to succumb to her wishes. She would come to my bed in the night and do lewd acts and I could not stop her,” she has written in her book, Amen  – an Autobiography of a Nun.

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.”

Amen: Autobiography of a nun has infuriated Kerala's Catholic Church

Amen: Autobiography of a nun has infuriated Kerala

Citing another incident of sexual trauma that she had to face, Sister Jesme says that it happened when she had gone to Bangalore for a refresher course. She writes, ”I was told to stay at the office of a priest respected for his strong moral side. But when I reached the station, he was waiting there and hugged me tight on arrival. Later in the day, he took me to Lalbagh (a garden) and showed me cupid-struck couples and tried to convince me about the need for physical love. He also narrated stories of illicit relations between priests and nun to me. 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.”

Sister Jesme has also described the mental torture that novices are subjected to. She said that she was not allowed to go home when she heard of her father’s death, and was able to see her father’s body just before his funeral. She was told by the superior sisters that she was lucky to have been able to at least see her father’s body, unlike many senior sisters.

The Open Air Rock Cross in front of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church- Martha Mariam Church Kuravilangad

The Open Air Rock Cross in front of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church- Martha Mariam Church Kuravilangad

Dr. Sister Jesme also refers to the corruption and the politicisation of religion prevalent in the Catholic Church. “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,” she says.

“The mental torture was unbearable. When I questioned the church’s stand on self-financing colleges and certain other issues, they accused me of having mental problems. They have even sent me to a psychiatrist. There are many nuns undergoing ill-treatment from the order, but they are afraid of challenging it. The church is a formidable fortress,” she adds.

The Catholic Church, of course, has reacted in its usual inimitable, unoriginal way. Sister Jesme has been denounced as mentally ill, and her Amen: Autobiography of a Nun has been termed as a “book of trivialities.”

Sister Jesme has alleged that the Church alternately tried to bribe her not to write the book, and threaten her.

She writes, “One sister said that she is going to sit in the corner of the chapel and pray the rosary so that all my books will be burnt and no person will be able to read it. I said let us wait and see whose prayer will God hear.”

In the book, Sister Jesme refers to the helplessness that nuns face when they are sexually abused in a convent. “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,” said Sister Jesme.

Her allegations are in line with the scandals that have plaguing the Catholic Church in Kerala.

A suicide note that accused another nun of sexual harassment

Photo: Sister Anupa Mary

Photo: Sister Anupa Mary

On August 11, 2008, Sister Anupa Mary committed suicide in St. Mary’s convent, in Kollam. She left a suicide note that accused a senior nun, in the convent, of sexual harassment.

In a fit of uncharacteristic originality, the Superior of St. Mary’s convent denied the allegations by saying that sexual abuse is impossible because the nuns sleep in a cubicle which is only 6 feet high.

And two orphans try to kill themselves..

On August 26, 2008, two girls living in the Nithya Sahaya Matha Balika Mandiram, an orphanage for girls, tried to commit suicide. The orphanage is part of the Holy Cross order in which Sister Anupa was ordained. The two girls who had consumed poison and were admitted in a hospital run by the church gave a rather garbled explanation. They said that an apprentice priest Benedict spoke to them in a humiliating tone when he was counselling them and also told them that he had come to know that they were not good girls. Another girl who was also present at the counselling session told the Kerala State Women’s Commission the priest had only blessed them by putting his hands over their heads and told them to be good girls.

And another suicide

Six months later, on February 11, 2009, Sister Josephine who lived in the The Daughters of Mary convent, in the Syro-Malankara archdiocese in Thiruvananthapuram, committed suicide. It was alleged that it was abuse at the hands of other nuns that forced Sister Josephine to take her own life. Unsurprisingly,  a press release from the archdiocese said that Sister Josephine was being treated for depression.

Under-age sexual exploitation

Going back a few years, in 1995, a parish priest in the Changanacherry archdiocese, allegedly entered into a two-year sexual relationship with a 15-year old school girl who gave birth to his child in1998. A case of rape and abduction was registered against the priest.

Another murder, and another nun who spoke out

In 1998, a nun from the Sacred Heart Convent in Kozhikode district was murdered. Kerala Police had said that they suspected a sexual motive behind the murder.

In October 2008, a 60-year-old nun belonging to the Congregation of Daughters of Mary Convent, Anchal, alleged that young nuns from the convents were being forced to have abortions and that priest and nuns were having “limitless” affairs. She further alleged that a nun Serenna Jacob has committed suicide because she could not handle the trauma. The nun is now in a mental hospital in Thodupuzha. Her nephew has alleged that she has been forcibly admitted to the hospital by the Convent authorities.

Sister Jesme has said that writing the book has been cathartic for her.  “I wanted an outlet for my trauma. It’ll help me start my second life afresh. The society has the right to know what’s happening to the sisters,” Sister Jesme, ex-principal of  St. Mary’s College in Thrissur, Kerala, has said. Sister Jesme quit the Congregation of Mother Carmelite (CMC), in August 2008.

She hopes the book will trigger a change in the life of the religious. She told the media, ”I have just opened a window, only one window, and through that window if they see dust or dirt inside the convent, at least in a corner, and if one sister cleans the corner of the convent, then my book has been rewarded.”

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84 Responses to “Amen – Autobiography of a Nun, by Sister Jesme, alleges sexual abuse and corruption in Kerala’s Catholic Church”

  1. The Morningstarr* - This should be a good read said on Friday, February 20, 2009, 21:22

    [...] should be a good read Amen – Autobiography of a Nun, by Sister Jesme, alleges sexual abuse and corruption in Kerala’… [...]

  2. Anger said on Friday, February 20, 2009, 22:34

    “an year of suicides”
    how fitting.

  3. Regi said on Friday, February 20, 2009, 23:15

    I think the nun is sick or else she has some political support to defame the innocent church.She has been doing the things in hiding and had no place to hide so before some one could point finger at her she is attacking.She is free to leave but need not defame the church and the institute to which she once belonged.Then why did she remain so long? She must have been deprived of power in the college to this sting? Even like this kind enter the religious life? Same on such kind better they leave early instead black mailing the church and the institute.52 yrs and of it 30 yrs she lived horrific life but not as a nun.Any way the book is an eye opener.

  4. wowmir said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 1:32

    Amazingly this has not been reported in Indian main stream media

  5. efectotequila.com said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 2:45

    Amen – Abuso sexual y corrupcion, Autobiografia de una monja [ING]…

    Una ex-monja acusa a la iglesia catolica de abusos sexuales y corrupcion en la India (sola alla?) y escribe su historia en su autobiografia… damn it!!!…

  6. maghimaimarcus said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 3:28

    Ms. regi dont talk like this…u are not going to do some favor for holy church or holy spirit. in the land where shakeela was adored like anything , one can expect such things to happen.its happening all over the world in catholic churches. i am catholic, i never regret abt saying this.dont know how things going to be…. a real challenge for the catholic organizations

  7. Nancy said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 4:03

    “The truth will set you free.” The devil roams the earth, looking to steal kill and destroy! Our precious sisters and brothers have lost themselves in religion! It is relationship that Jesus seeks from all of us, and when we lose sight of relationship with Jesus, and we get caught up in legalism, we lose sight of what Jesus came to do… to save us, and give us abundant life. The enemy seeks to destroy God’s children, we must take a stand, and let him know, Jesus has already put the devil under our feet, we claim victory over every evil thing that is going on in the world, we reign because of Jesus! May the Lord’s power, favor,blessing, and righteousness overflow in this convent, and May God deliver His children from this harrassment, In Jesus name!

  8. Joy Joseph said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 5:13

    This has hurt me a lot. I am a Catholic slowly turning protestant and these type of revelations really scare me. Also, they help me in finalising my decision of leaving this Church whose clergy has gone astray from the task they were called for. It’s so sad that the priests and nuns today are doing such acts not realizing the repurcussions of it in society, not to forget their own souls when time will come for them to face GOD. I’ve given up. Sr. Jesme, you have done a GREAT JOB. I love you for your courage. Congratulations on your resurrection!

    Amen!

  9. Akshay said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 5:33

    @wowmir: India is a big country, its media, just like eveyrthing else, is extremely messy. This was certainly big news in the mainstream media in the South.

  10. Kevin said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 8:31

    The world will be a better place when people look back on our age as a dark time ruled by superstition. I have never met an individual involved in any of the Abrahamic religions who was not a hypocrite.

  11. shiva kumar said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 9:25

    So Simple…. tha’s why Islam says to avoid the priests and priest hood,
    b’coz we don’t need a Mediator between god and us b’coz humen are always humens.

  12. Rajjy_J said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 9:33

    Yeah its interesting why it hasn’t been reported in the main stream media.
    Has somebody bought it off?????

  13. Philip said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 11:00

    The church need to loosen its big lizadian clutches of obstinancy in letting go the super hierarchical power structure. The church need honest discernment that abusive nanture of authority is the root cause of everything. i do believe certain feeling of jesmine has true basis. Why most nuns and priests contuinue remain as celibate is due to psychological and moral pressure. The church is yet to realise that being a celibate is a major choice of life and that puting into a cage as a seminary or convent would only help to create certain moral psychological pressure to take such choice. The time of seminary formation and convent is over it need to take new turn. The church has no self emptying spirit, but greedy possesive love for maintianing a super structure. the church need to go to the root

  14. Busted. said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 14:07

    [...] Amen – Autobiography of a Nun, by Sister Jesme, alleges sexual abuse and corruption in Kerala’s Ca… [...]

  15. Emilou said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 17:28

    I am a former nun, from the US. I too experienced excruciating abuses within the years I was in the Convent in California. Filing a law suit was the way I chose to bring my truth out. I appauld Sister Jesme, for writing her autobiography. She is a Brave Soul to do so. There is so much that was hidden behind the convent walls, where we by rule were not allowed to share with the outside world. We need more of these truths to come out into the light. This is the only way healing can take place. I believe there are many, many , many more nuns within the convents and also those that are now former nuns, that were abused in herendous ways, and that still continue to suffer. Sister Jesme, What courage and greatness you are! You are not alone, know that there are many of us who lift you up in prayer and light. Thank you for your honesty!

  16. Jose said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 17:53

    Its an attempt by right wing Hindu forces to malign the church and its institutions. Shameless, they implanted this sister in congregation.

  17. Margaret W Jones, Ph.D. said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 21:28

    I am a psychologist and a survivor of spiritual abuse. I applaud Sr. Jesme’s courage. Religious orders often behave like cults by isolating their members and not allowing dissent. I know it can be hard to admit that people you thought lead holy lives actually sin more than you do. I encourage everyone to support Sr. Jesme by reading her book and others like it.

  18. martin said on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 22:39

    Dear Joy Joseph ,
    As you said, if you are willing to leave the catholic church and join protestant it should be based on your faith. And if you say the story has helped you to make strong your decission then you will do the same thing with protestant also if you hear some stories from some protestant people??? if the stories are your motive to change the faith then you wont find any religion to join at the end of the day

  19. Peter Zutshi said on Sunday, February 22, 2009, 4:17

    I have to commend the lady’s courage to bring out the truth. As for the church, their response is no surprise. Jesus doesn not work through them anymore. He lives in our hearts…

  20. kenosis said on Sunday, February 22, 2009, 10:53

    prathikaaram paradhooshanathiloode….kollam…thirichu kittiyathinde vedhanna inganeyallaa theerkkendathu…but aaathmashoodhanayiloode…God Bless

  21. kunju said on Sunday, February 22, 2009, 17:06

    If some one ask why then Jesmie continued as a nun for many years there is not one answer to give?Only if you understand
    Kerala’s culture, society and a a devoted catholic family you can accept any of these answers: Catholic woman (mother) is proud of their daughter as long as she is nun, but she will be the most ashamed of once daughter decide to leave the convent. She may not face her women neighbours with their questions about their daughter and why she returned home! Mothers wish their daughters to continue to be nuns despite whatever horror happens in convents. Fear of displeasing the family keep kerala girls to continue to suffer in convent.

    Even kerala boys will not be happy to marry a girl who returned from nunary because they have some concept that the girl had affair with some one and that is why the convent sent her back.

    In summary, society was not accepting with open hands the return of a nun back to family.

    There are examples of nuns who committed suicide because they were suffering in convent silently and could not return to their own house. It is so sad. I hope this autobiography will help open the eyes of family and relatives of each nun to have a more open approach to the decision of a nun if she feels to return. Community life(convent) helps a person to realize her wish to do good to others and to develop her talents but if it becomes obstacle to advance in good deeds it is better to quit nunary. You can be a good person outside. Don’t destroy yourself by the fear of facing life after leaving the convent.

  22. pvas said on Sunday, February 22, 2009, 19:18

    Sexual scandals in church, involving nuns and childen, have exploded throughout the world. India is one of the last countries to finally admit the truth about the goings-on in Indian churches. Even when I was a kid studying in school some thirty years ago, many of us were quite aware that there was a lot of immoral stuff going on between priests and nuns. But who was going to break open the can of worms; it would have to be those who themselves are victims of such indecent immoral acts within the church. It has taken so many years for these victims to come boldly out in the open to tell their horrifying stories. It took so many decades and centuries before the scandals involving the church surfaced in public in the western world, and the church tried everything in its power to suppress the truth and prevent the victims and their families from speaking out. They even went to great lengths to suggest that the victims were delusional and liars. The Indian church and Indian christians loyal to the church are now doing the same – trying to blame the victims and trying to portray these victims as liars and wrong-doers, in order to stop them from speaking the truth. There are hundreds and hundreds of girls/women and children, who like Ms. Jesme have been victims of sexual and physical abuse in church and church-run institutions. Many of them are scarred for life, unable to receive and tell their stories for fear of shame and threats from the church and other christians loyal to the church. The story of Ms. Jesme is one of tragedy. Countless young girls, who once had dreams of enjoying normal healthy family lives, just like young girls throughout the world, were deceived by the church, and dreams, hopes and lives destroyed forever.

  23. pvas said on Sunday, February 22, 2009, 19:23

    Correction: Please read the above sentence as:

    Many of them are scarred for life, unable to receive help, and tell their story to someone, because of fear, shame, and threats and intimidation from the church and other christians loyal to the church. The story of Ms. Jesme is one of tragedy. Countless young girls, who once had dreams of enjoying normal healthy family lives, just like young girls throughout the world, were deceived by the church, and dreams, hopes and lives destroyed forever.

  24. Gidwani said on Monday, February 23, 2009, 0:18

    No one should be surprised that there is sexual abuse in the Catholic churches in Kerala. It is happening in Catholic churches all over the world. In a faith which requires celibacy from all priests and nuns there has to be a lot of suppressed sexual desire, and it finds release in “illicit” sexual acts. The only way to prevent it is to eliminate the requirement of celibacy among the priestly class.

  25. Varsha Franklin said on Monday, February 23, 2009, 6:28

    Hi Suffering Nuns, I really appreciate when come to us as helping hand in our school you teach us with care if you are suffering it is my duty to help now when i am grown up and you need my help, I can create a help line and centre for the protection of right of nuns who can complain and the get help of government and rehabilation centres can be established for you suffering nuns i wish all of them complain to me at my email id varshafranklin@yahoo.com soon expect to establish union for suffering nuns and fight place in society and encourage youth to marry nun who are suffering from this stigma

    Varsha

  26. BG Varghese said on Monday, February 23, 2009, 6:59

    “Spirit is willing; but flesh is weak”. This is applicable to all. One cannot be totally away from sin unless he/she is chosen by Jesus. What the Sister wrote in the book may be right, one cannot deny. But it does not give her any credit to come out with these “truths” after spending more than 3 decades as a nun. Either she should have left the nunship much earlier and say publicly what was happening in the convents, or she should have kept her mouth shut. Some fishy things are definitely happening beneath her action now.

  27. Arun gopalakrishnan said on Monday, February 23, 2009, 15:46

    See,
    I’m awriter/director working on a movie ‘The Color of the Faith’.As the name suggests,
    it’s about racism and pedophilia inside the church.The RCSC-roman catholic syrian christians always boast about their supeiority-same does the knanaya sect.I’ve met italians,tamils-roman catholic priests who work in kerala and other tribal areas.All of them boast about the authenticity and divinity of the church. My simple question is this-there are aristocratic catholic families in Pala and Thrissur(the names pala originated from Palermo,Thrissur from Turino-both italian cities-I guess).If I or any tribal convert to the so called Holy church,will I get the social respect? No. Then why do you convert? Because the brown catholic-the type found in Pala and thrissur get money-from Europe.I have the most severe kind of disgust towards brown catholics.I’m not an RSS member or communist,I’m an anandamargi who sleeps in graveyards,soaked in ash.Money don’t matter to me as I sleep in ground and live by begging.I invite comments from Mr.Jose and Mr Kenosis.Guys,don’t you know Pope pius XII blessed Adolf Hitler and Mussolini before slaughtering the jews?

  28. Politico said on Monday, February 23, 2009, 16:00

    The true catholic should not afraid of scrutiny. The writer of the story too is a catholic, from Kerala. Whether the ex-nun is right or not, she has a right to come out and say what she feels or believes, and others have a right to defend it if they think so.

    To Arun, there is evil in all groups, religious or otherwise. There is you, who has contempt for brown catholics. And there are brown catholics, who try to fix problems within the church. There are Christians who have contempt for hinduism, and hindus who try to reform the hindu society. All is good. There have been enough scandals about swamis, maulvis, christian priests, atheist leaders. All criticism is welcome, and why not? Those within a religion are the most capable of reforming it, and we hope they do.

  29. Arun gopalakrishnan said on Monday, February 23, 2009, 16:54

    The Roman Catholic faith deeply abhors sexuality-carnal instincts.Enjoyment of sexuality is cardinal sin,women are biologically inferior to men-2 basic tenets of the faith.Clearly made for male dominance in the church.Everyone knows about the dark ages of europe-especially Portuguese excesses on africans,spanish inquisitions.In kerala,worshipful catholic sons and dauhters leave their old to charity homes-the same parents who made them proud catholics.

  30. George said on Monday, February 23, 2009, 17:23

    I am a Syrian Christian Catholic, from a traditional christian family. In a healthy debate it is imperative to hear both sides of the story. For a Nun to come out in the open about the wrongs of the church is supremely courageous. It’s a very difficult choice for her to say things about her convent, where she had spent more than 30 years of her life. People who say she should have come earlier, I guess don’t understand the internal trauma that she would be going through. One needs to spend substantial time in Kerala to understand the way things work there. The church is exerts mammoth influence on the socio-economic fabric of the state. When you are coming out like that you are taking on an institution. Like a reader mentioned earlier there are chances that the society as a whole and the individual family would treat her as an alien. Not to mention the church coming on to her with all guns blazing. The law should be equal for everyone – of any religious denomination. The catholic church in India should investigate the issue at hand and try to be non-partial in its judgment. It needs to restore the faith of the devout, by looking into its workings. Just take a leaf from the catholic church in America, after the pedophilia scandal. They initially denied and shifted blame, but then they at least made an attempt to correct the mistakes and set things straight. Its time for the Kerala Catholic Church to go for some retrospection. If things are going awry, its time to put things in order.

    It is also not fair to blame the entire church for the wrong doings of certain individuals. The church cannot take the blame on their behalf. The church is doing wonderful things in India – education, health care, destitute homes, orphanages, philanthropy just to name a few. Lot of the credit goes to the church in these areas. They are priests and nuns who sacrifice their best years of their lives in serving God and Man. So no quarrels there.

    But for the Church to become more meaningful in the teachings of Christ they need to take responsibility when things go wrong and try to fix it ASAP. Else you might hear cases like these coming out very frequently.

  31. joseph said on Monday, February 23, 2009, 19:01

    FOR ME IT IS NOT NEW SINCE I AM ASLO A CATHOLIC. MANY PRIESTS ARE IMMORAL EVEN NUNS ALSO. KERALA HAS MANY NUNS AND PRIETS. ONCE THEY WERE GOOD AND DEDICATED EVENTHOUGH SOME SEX SCANDALS HAPPEND CHURCH HID IT. NOW IN KERALA MANY PRIETS HAVE LOT OF MONEY FOR THAT THEY GO ABROAD TO COLLECT MONEY TELLING KERALA PEOPLE ARE POOR. REALLY! WHERE IT GOES , IT GOES FOR THIER FAMILY AND FOR DRINKING AND SEX. MANYS NUNS COME FROM POOR FAMILIES SO THESE PRIESTS TAKE ADVANDAGE OF THE SITUATION AND ABUSE THEM. SOME NUNS WANT TO SETTLE THE FAMILIES. SO IT HAPPENS THROUGH PRIETS SELLING THE BODY. EVEN IN ABRAOD MANY NUNS FROM KERALA IS DOING THE SAME. THEY COME OUT OF CONVENT AFTER FEW YERAS OR GET MARRIED WITH OLD PEOPLE. IT IS TRUE THAT HAPPENS IN ITALY. THEN WHERE IS A DEDICATION AND SELF SACRIFICE. SOME PRIESTS ARE HAVING SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH MORE THAN ONE NUN. WHERE GOES THE CHURCH. THE VATICAN GIVES MORE SUPPORT TO KERALA THAN OTHERS BUT WHERE GOES THE MONEY. SO WE HAVE STOP MANY GIRLS BECOMING NUNS OR GIVE A REAL FORMATION. THANKS

  32. Varghese Abraham said on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 8:40

    Dear Mr. Arun Gopalakrishnan,
    The name Trissur is derived from Thrissivaperur and Pala is Pala much before the foreigners came to India. Second thing what is this brown catholic. Dear friend, the meaning of “catholic” is universal. All christian churches are universal in their nature. Jesus was not a Christian. He was a Jew. Those who followed Jesus Christ is called a Christian, whether he/she is in Europe, America, Asia, Russia etc.

    Sr. Jesme and thousands of others are suffering from the certain people of church. They may be priests or nuns of bishops. I congratulate Sr. Jesme for coming out against the Church. Best of Luck.

  33. suryansh said on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 10:28

    from where can i get english version of this book in hyderabad

  34. George Abraham said on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, 13:21

    Still many people try to deny the incidents saying why to question such things.The reason why people are moving away from traditional church is such non sense.. I am an orthodox and lot of fights are happening between churches here.. I wanted to marry an RC girl but the priests objected, saying some damn reason. We are following christ, Not Catholics or Orthodox or any Bishops. But many are afraid even to think against this thinking its a sin.

    Even Jesus fought against the prevailing customs of Jews and nothing is going to change unless people react.There are lot of unwanted customs happening in the churches and People dont know why.TIME to change.

    Now Net is there to show the Reaction. Preist Drink ,Eat Pork and say its all allowed . Follow the bible and you will see what all wrong things we are doing from Idol worship to other many things. I know still Many will not change till they start thinking Logically .

    Many other cases… Open up sirs. Dont pretend you are sleeping . Nuns are lady preists .They should be independent.

    Let all those who want to marry Get Married.. No church is going to fall down because of it. There will be genuine priests left since SEX is not taboo for a clergy Man. He / she can have feelings.

  35. Rationalist Society of St. Louis » Blog Archive » Indian Nun’s autobiography reveals sexual abuse within the Catholic Church hierarchy said on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 1:48

    [...] abuse within the Catholic Church hierarchy Written by Bill on February 24, 2009 – 7:48 pm From Dances With Shadows: Former nun’s autobiography alleges that sexual abuse and homosexuality is very high in the [...]

  36. thania manoj said on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 7:04

    You have done a great thing.GOD BLESS YOU

  37. Abey Abraham said on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 7:41

    Im a Catholic, and hail from a family where we have 4 priests who servers the Catholic Church.

    I strongly believe that we need some reformation within the Catholic religion.

    I too have seen or come across with such incidents which im not ready to describe, comment or judge anyone.
    At times even I had the feeling of –Why to confess to a particular priest or attend his mass whose character is

    not good or not spiritually good.
    These days Boys and girls come to seminary with the intention to become a director / Principal of an organization,

    go aboard, head of some institution, position in community, get university degrees etc., not to server god and

    man.
    Last generation priests & nuns came to seminary to serve society and god, but gradually these days it’s become

    more of a business and a profession to be in with lots of institutions, estates,freedom and lots of money flowing

    in…

    Hope this would be a turning point for higher authorities, each priest and Nun within the religion to re structure

    rules, regulations, certain practices etc – to keep our catholic Religion / faith strong, united and admirable to

    others faiths.
    A moment for each and every catholic to understand his/her duty to maintain faith – For the better of our

    children’s, families, society etc

    Regarding Sister Jesme case, in one angle i do appreciate her, for the courage she had to this revelations to the

    public. So that others may not come across such harassments and temptations.

    On the other side, I understand Sr. Jesme has been in the congregation for 33 years, my question is why she had to

    remain in the congregation for so long facing this difficulty. Was it the money from the congregation, position or

    something else…? Made her to stick on….

    I don’t think anybody would have stopped her from leaving the congregation..

    My personal opinion, it is not right to defame the community in which she was bought up and lived this long.
    It gives a wrong perception to others in the society (Non Catholic & Non Christians)

    In my life, I have seen priests/Nuns of different categories in character / the way they live / attitude /

    spirituality etc.

    There are priests/Nuns who live in luxury, position, protection ,lots of money for their personal use and for

    their family members, frequent trips out of India ,where they cannot be monitored on what they do or how much

    unaccounted money they get..
    And at the same time there are priests/Nuns who live down to earth way in very remote locations in India ( North)

    even without the basic necessitates, serving the poor, slums, handicapped, orphans etc and above all these they

    are attacked by antisocial / Naxlaties. What dignity would these get cos of the former?
    May God protect them.

    All our Priest & Nuns must understand that holy orders is a major choice of life to server GOD and Man
    And remember the vow taken during the holy sacrament….and will be accountable to GOD

  38. Ronald said on Thursday, February 26, 2009, 6:26

    If she was suffering in the hands of Religeous people, why then she continued until she became old? Why then she has not brought these incidents to the head of the church ?

  39. georgenx said on Friday, February 27, 2009, 7:22

    Jesus said in mathew 7 , 21 ” not everyone who calls me Lord , lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven , but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do . When judgement Day comes , many will say to me , lord , lord in your name we spoke Gods message , by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles . Then i will say to them , i never knew you . Get away from me , you wicked people .

    through these words Jesus made it clear that miracles , dress , positions, power wont help a person to reach God . If iam able to love a person by not expecting any favour from other person then only i will succeed . what we work and pray is for gods love . if there is Gods love in me then i am a disciple of Jesus . Other things wont help me to become a diciple of jesus. thanking you , georgenx ( i have written a english book ” How Jesus Taught Me to Forgive & to Love” , now the editing work is going on . after completing the book shall be avaialble to read in a blog & a site )

  40. susan d'souza said on Friday, February 27, 2009, 10:29

    I have your article in TIMES OF INDIA, dated 20th feb 2009. I would like to buy your book but in english edition. I have also gone through the google site. It’s very shocking to know all those things happening inside the church.kindly let me know where will i get the book in mumbai {nariman point}

  41. tomychan said on Sunday, March 1, 2009, 12:06

    i apreciate sr.Jesmy’s courge to expess this real fact to the world. it is really distrube me.

  42. mary said on Monday, March 2, 2009, 12:20

    Anything about sex and against traditional institution attracts a lot of attention. I am not surprised at the response generated by the publication of Jesme`s autobiography. Reading these responses gives one a good understanding about the declining image of the catholic church in particular and religion and religious in general. I dont want to comment much, but everywhere there are good people as well as evildoers, sincere and down to earth persons as well as hypocrites, wolves in sheep`s clothing as Jesus said. As for sexual harassment in convent, I am yet to face one even after 22 years inside it and dont hope to.

  43. Reena said on Monday, March 2, 2009, 16:41

    When I first read about Sr. Jesme (last week in Mumbai Mirror) I was shocked. Before it could sink in, again I read this article written by Mr. Don Sebatain yesterday which gives more insight in the Sr. Jesme story………

    I was Sr. Jesme’s student in the year 1989-90 (11th std). She was our class teacher and used to teach us English. No one dared to bunk her class as she was very strict but everyone was in awe with her ways of teachings. She went out of her way to help the weaker students and stayed back with them and gave extra classes. I remember once when she was busy, she asked me to stay back for an hour daily after class to help out the others………. Such was her dedication……. Later on I heard through someone that she had become the principal and I said to myself : She had that coming….

    After being through all this, now I am wondering how was she able to put up a brave and happy face when she was suffering so much from inside….. I am writing this and sending this article to all my friends and trying to extend my support to Sr. Jesme in my own small way…… We blindly believe what is being taught to us but are we ready to face a few FACTS here?????? Hats off to you Sr. Jesme for your courage…………Reena Jacob

  44. josephlj said on Monday, March 2, 2009, 21:33

    let me ask what is reality?

  45. Alphanso said on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 1:15

    I am just longing to get hold of the book. It should be very interesting to read what happens all in the name of the church.

  46. maria said on Thursday, March 5, 2009, 16:17

    Those who point fingers at Sr.Jesme, shame on you. It is because of people like you that this keeps on happening, victims keep quiet and we think priests are Gods when they are really Satans.

    I know Sr. Jesme 20 years ago as she used to teach me English. She used to say that scoring good marks is not the ultimate goal in life, but it is about being a good human being and leading an honest life. She is one of the finest human beings I have ever known in my life. I am really proud of her as she did the right thing by bringing out the harsh and disturbing truth. It is her righteousness and virtuosity which gave her guts after 30 years of pain and humiliation she had to go through. She chose to be a nun over all earthly pleasures just to be with Jesus. Hope this will give courage to lot more girls and nuns to speak out the reality behind nun hood.

    Shame on those use the name of God and exploit fellow human beings! God’s blessings are with you Sr. Jesme and our prayers too.

  47. Daniel said on Thursday, March 5, 2009, 17:52

    There is scope for all the wrong things to happen in every area of life , unless someone reads the Bible himself and try to understand before accepting what so called great preist or institutions teach.This could save many young girls from these kind of deception of devil . jesus is coming soon. Read Bible to understand real way for enjoying eternal peace and life through Lord Jesus no need of middle man . Jesus him self has paid the price for the sins of mankind by shedding his blood on the cross , then who are these people (priests as we know them ) who forgive sins they are just human beings .You should know the truth and it will set you free .Read more bible and taste the different Jesus .All the best

  48. Premjith said on Friday, March 6, 2009, 10:21

    why all the replies are not being published here? i had sent a reply but the same is not seeing published over here. any particular reason?

  49. SebastianVattamattam said on Saturday, March 7, 2009, 17:38

    I have just completed reading the book Amen and strongly recommend it for any girl who wants to beome a nun. This book illustrates how blind obedience can genarate a fascist social structure and the corresponding sado-masochist psycho-structure.

  50. Ajay said on Saturday, March 7, 2009, 18:34

    kindly wait for the result of parliament election to release the english version of your book. BJP will take care of it.

  51. krishan kumar said on Monday, March 9, 2009, 7:36

    iwould like to read your book in english. it is a daring step taken by you; not taken by anyone so far

  52. Indu T.S said on Monday, March 9, 2009, 11:44

    Why my comments are not included?????

  53. josephlj said on Monday, March 9, 2009, 13:50

    I m also a suffering servent. Because of the social pressure, I m still inside. Is there anyone here to help me financially and socially for coming out of this strucutre.

  54. Regi M Jose said on Monday, March 9, 2009, 17:27

    It is not at all surprising. What else one can expect from Babylon the Great of Revelation ch.17? The Roman Catholic religion (I wouldn’t categorise it as a “Church”) is one which directly opposes the authority of the Bible. In any kind of idolatrous religion sexual immorality and perversion are bound to happen. Romans 1:23ff reveals it. The bible directly teaches if one wants to become the bishop of a church, he must be married and should have the experience of managing his family very well. (1Timothy Ch3) 1 Tim ch. 4 begins by stating that some will forbid marriage and insist on abstinance from certain foods. They are said to be following the doctrine of demons. In fact the catholic religion forbids marriage for priests and nuns and that is the real problem

  55. vijayan said on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 12:06

    I am a Syrian christyan. Every religion have its own problems like this and it is much more in the catholic secter. To over come this kind of agony, let all churches allow the priests to have a married life.

  56. rasixa said on Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 20:04

    Sebastian,
    pls tell in what language did u read the book? Where did u buy it? thx

  57. Robin said on Thursday, March 12, 2009, 11:49

    Hi All,

    —– Agree, there are good people among us inspite of whether being a priest / nun /whoever. Now why the bigshots in society / supports for the big christian leaders keeping quiet?Now everyone should ignore the church /leaders.

  58. Ken Rego said on Thursday, March 12, 2009, 18:09

    This book is utter rubbish. This nun is talking nonsense. Just to exploit the Church and spoil its name. Stupidity is all that I can say. Exposing the Church is not what she seeks but her own glorification. God Bless her soul if she fears God.

  59. MJM LIZZA said on Thursday, March 12, 2009, 18:53

    I’ve read the write ups and comments on the book, “Amen “of Sister Jesme, and compelled in spirit to write this note. I don’t attempt to deny the claims of abuse Sister Jesme experienced in the convent. Neither do I blame her for not coming out of the convent at an earlier stage because of various reasons. Abuse can happen anywhere and everywhere, and no body can condone it. It is the right of the society to know about it and take all precausions to prevent it as much as possible both in the society at large, and in religious institutions in particular. However, I’ve a question to ask to Sister Jesme. You said you had the boldness to face the priest in the confessional when you were a novice. But later on, you have succumbed to the “force” of the nuns and the priests who have abused you. Have you ever injured physically by resisting them? Could you not run away from their clutches? If you had such a courage as a young novice, where did that go when you grew up in stature and position? Don’t you know the life of St. Maria Goreity who as a young girl resisted her abuser Alexander who got frustrated by her resistance, and stabed her to death? And later on, was he led to conversion by the forgiving attitude of Maria Goreity on her dead bed? Did not Jesus ask the accusers of the woman caught in adultery to stone her first, those who had no sin at all? Does your attitude lead people to conversion, or to gossip, anger, frustration and scandal? Let us humble before the Lord who forgave our sins, and pray for the conversion of other sinners. We are what we are by the Grace of God, if not, we would have been the worst molesters of the world. May God’s name be glorified in what we say, or write or do.

  60. anilkumar said on Monday, March 16, 2009, 11:01

    this book is really good because he done a good job, all are thinking wht the books written by her but why we are not thinking how to control this type of activities like prestes and nuns. its very pity for all in this society people why they r going to join nuns and prests if u continue this gods work with marrage any one. this is the right decision god not say doing my work only nuns and prests manner we can pray any body if married or not this is not important. we can think all nuns and prests how to control this type of sexual harrsaments and bad activities.

  61. avleen said on Tuesday, March 17, 2009, 6:43

    I have studied in convents since I was five years old.. apparently any sort of contact with the opposite gender is a form of sexual relationships. I personally have no respect for these sisters despite the crucifixes they wear around their necks and even less for the roman catholic church. They control us through guilt so beware!!!

  62. selvi said on Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 3:56

    Jesme’s book is an eye opener to us catholics. I really pity her that she was a victim of all sorts of abusements. Iv’e been a nun for 36 years and had no such experiences and have not seen anyone among us victimised so. How come only she had gone thru such horrific experiences?

    As for certain restrictions in the religious life don’t the Jains, Budhists, Brahmakumaris, amd other Sanyasis have such rules and regulations. One joins such institutions voluntarily after knowing all about these restrictions. Can a young unmarried girl or even a married woman go freely where she wants or do what she wants in India?

    How come Ms.Jesme there is nothing about whether she resisted these molestations and how? She had all the freedom to leave the congregation long long ago.

  63. immi said on Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 5:21

    I want the book of Jesme

  64. A.R.S said on Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 6:29

    First of all thanks to ex-sister jesmi for revealing the truths….Please do not send our girls into this profession anymore…… Why should we spoil their life….

  65. francis said on Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 8:43

    Does this book help to reform catholic church.how can an adulterer be called as priest.

  66. Arun Gopalakrishnnan said on Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 10:29

    Please put this URL onto your browser and click.This is the review of a film ‘Doubt’.A shockingly brutal film for the believers.http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/review/2008/12/12/doubt/index.html

  67. sarah paul said on Thursday, March 19, 2009, 5:58

    i feel very sad about those things happened.

  68. XXX said on Friday, March 20, 2009, 4:28

    Arun dude, I dunno about the relation between Pala and Palermo, but to your notice, Thrissur (former Trichur from British) is not an Italian descend name but reduced from Thrissivaperoor, very very malayalam. Also would suggest before being into movies about complicated matters like religion, racism, and pedophilia, learn the heritage and history of your own birth place (you sound a mallu) rather than making wrong statements.

  69. sung mung said on Sunday, March 22, 2009, 6:54

    Happened to read the above said book. I wonder if we don’t have to hear what the accused persons say. Is it right to take some one on his word? Is it not a denial of natural justice?Have we heard the sisters who spent money to train Jesme, appoint her in college, make her head of a famous institution, gave her every chance to shine?
    Going through the book I find that only superlative things are said about the author. There is no defect, nothing wanting in the author. She has intelligence, dedication, courage, ability, efficiency and what not! She has ranks, positions, expertise to her credit. Strange that she has no drawback, no flaw of character, no weakness. She is victim and others are torturers. Is human life that simple? Is the truth somewhere in between? Has the virtuous lives of thousands of innocent sisters no value at all?Are all the priests adulterers? Are all the married pastors, pujaries and maulavies chaste? What about Devendra and Parasara? What about the Tantri of Sabarimala and Kanch Kamkodi Pitam?These are all questions that come to my mind and I do not expect answers from any corner

  70. shibu varghese said on Sunday, March 22, 2009, 20:36

    the things which the nun conveyed is true i think. remember the abhaya case, there are a lot of incidents with us. we can reduce the sexual harassment towards nuns by allowing the priests to marry. if they married, 99% of sexual harrassment towards nuns can be avoided.

  71. saju said on Monday, March 23, 2009, 11:08

    It is interesting but tarnishing the church. I admire the sister for her outspoken attitude but i believe it would have been much better if she reacted at the first instance of such incidents and not when she feared that she is going to lose her power in the congregation. The sister should have reacted strongly in the specified forum and leave it for discussions and if no result come forward then she should have opted for other actions and if not leave then and not now and come out with such revelations. I symbathise with her if she experienced such incidents and it really should make the church think retrospectively and make adequate changes in the whole system.

  72. ABC said on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 11:56

    Let the nuns get freedom to marriage. SEX is a desire that all beings have. why to suppress it ? when that is given by GOD itself ? STUPID CONCEPTS !!!

  73. jotty said on Thursday, March 26, 2009, 15:58

    it is simply nonsense.

  74. VIKRANT said on Friday, March 27, 2009, 11:09

    A GOOD REVELEATION ABOUT THE INSIDE STORY OF CHURCHES. HOPE THAT MORE INFO WILL COME FROM OTHER SISTERS TOO AND THINGS WILL IMPROVE

  75. rasixa said on Friday, March 27, 2009, 16:32

    Maybe someone read this biography related?
    A biography on Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) says nuns in India are not emancipated women and they are often kept under submission by the fear of revenge by priests.

    Cardinal Vithayathil’s outspoken view on nuns appear in ‘Straight from the Heart,’ a biography on him penned by Father Paul Thelakat, spokesperson of Syro Malabar Church and editor of Sathyadeepam.

    The biography says nuns in India are humiliated by priests and they live in fear and time has come to free the nuns from the “pitiable situation” they are in.

    “I would say to a great extent our nuns are not emancipated women. They are often kept under submission by the fear of revenge by priests. That’s how the priests get away with whatever humiliation they heap upon them. It is a pitiable situation from which somebody has to liberate them,” says the 82-year-old cardinal.

    The biography says: “A big complaint of our nuns is that the diocesan priests are treating them like servants, making them wash their clothes, prepare their food, wash the churches, etc and that too without getting paid. These are all unjust ways of treating the women religious.”

    http://www.indiancatholic.in/news/storydetails.php/11554-1-6-Nuns-in-India-are-not-emancipated-women:-Cardinal

  76. Arun Gopalakrishnan said on Friday, March 27, 2009, 16:45

    My friends Ken Rego and XXX, I hope you people will not doubt the integrity and authenticity of the newsgroup BBC world.here are some links that will lead you to salvation. Oh god,save my soul!!!news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3036880.stm news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3035008.stm
    news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/6972151.stm

  77. Arun Gopalakrishnan said on Sunday, March 29, 2009, 14:11

    Ken Rego,XXX,Jotty may the Lord have mercy on your blind faith in men in cassocks.

  78. Circuits said on Monday, March 30, 2009, 21:47

    Nobody has the right to force a law onto a group of people. how can you do this to nuns? they are deprived of sexual satisfaction, forever. they might find other means to relive the natural insticts of human beings. what on earth can justify the church or the so called authorities to do this to them?

  79. John Fernandes said on Friday, April 3, 2009, 16:30

    The problem in the Catholic Church can be minimised if Celibacy is removed. Jesus Christ chose his apostles from among married people, with the exception of John. Sex is God-given and not something evil. I foresee that after several generations the Catholic Church will have married priests, married nuns as well as women priests. The more we are in keeping with nature and God’s ways, the less hypocritical and more sincere will we, the Children of God, be.

  80. Biju Sebastian said on Thursday, April 9, 2009, 18:10

    I, of course, appreciate the courage of Sr.Jesmi. However, courage alone does not justify everything what she has said. She has a right to publish her autobiography…. I don’t deny that. I am not sure what might have been her intention. To bring a new story to the world? I don’t think anything of what she has alleged is impossible to happen in a congregation of nuns, or in any society for that matter. They should not happen… but they happen. She should basically understand that we are all human beings and relate to people with whatever ‘ulterior’ motive we have. Religion and God are meant to set things right, but it may not happen all the time and in everyone’s case. It looks as though these ‘revelations’ have surprised people, be it Christian or non Christian. I am happy for the kind of expectations that have been placed on the Church by people of all religion because they still consider Church trustworthy. Otherwise why so much of a surprise? Thanks Sr.Jesmi, for this prophetic role that you have been playing… let the Church introspect…. and that would mean who…. you Sr.Jesmi included… as you are baptized person. However, do you think you have said something that you will later regret about…. I hope not….. Or God will be sad for you. Forget about others…

  81. Terrence said on Monday, April 20, 2009, 0:35

    Dear All in Jesus Christ,
    Lets not debate on the book of the Nun. It could be true or it might not be. Let’s not judge the Nun. God will handle her case. Lets talk about what ought to be done to prevent acts of these kind. The chances for all these activities are indeed great and all priests and nuns are indeed humans. Remember, Satan enetered the Gardern of Eden easily and can’t he enter the Church / Convent? Some go out of control willingly, some are forced, etc etc. Opportunities determine a man’s character. Lets stop creating opportunities to perform evil not only in the Church but everywhere across the globe. Some sin by creating opportunities to sin and some sin by doing nothing to stop new opportunities to do evil. Earlier, Christ shed blood and now CHRIST weeps!

  82. Janani said on Saturday, April 25, 2009, 6:41

    It is good attempt to open the eyes of the Church. But we should realize that because of one or two we should not accuse whole Church. Priest and Nuns are also human being with feelings.

  83. Fatima said on Sunday, May 3, 2009, 9:16

    i m a muslim but was convented. one of d sr has deeply touched my life. i always dreamt of becoming like her but “I CANT HAVE BLIND FAITH BCOZ I VE BLESSED A MIND TO THINK AND PONDER” also i doubted confession and celibacy although apparentlyit appears so holy and pious. this account of sr jesme’s has furthered strengthened my faith. i only wonder that my dearest teacher might also be suffering such inhuman brutalities. how can i help her bcoz everytime i want to have a disussion of this sort all she tells me is to have blind faith. may the lord bless us all. also plz can anyone tell me as to where i can get theenglish version of this book.

  84. JGN said on Friday, May 15, 2009, 9:33

    Clergy sexual abuse and power struggles are an open secret in Kerala for the past several years. One Christian girl had told me about 30 years back the sarcastic remarks of her Uncle when she wanted to become a Nun (he told her, if you want to give birth to a child, you can very well do the same at our home)! The peddlers of faith (of all hues) are number one crooks. Instead of making poor girls nuns, give them quality education and allow them to lead normal life. That would be the best the Churches can do for the Community.