Lucy Kalapura, who was dismissed from the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in Kerala in 2019, is honored at a cultural function in Kannur town on Feb. 23, 2020. She has refused to move out of her convent. (Photo: Facebook)
Kerala High Court has refused police protection for a dismissed Indian Catholic nun but allowed her to stay in a convent despite her former congregation’s plea that she be evicted.
The top court in the southern Indian state further ordered an expeditious trial in a case Lucy Kalapura had initiated in a trial court challenging her dismissal from the Kerala-based Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) in August 2019 and subsequent attempts to evict her from the convent.
“As things stand now, the petitioner is not a member of the congregation. This fact, however, is disputed by the petitioner,” observed Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V. of the high court.
The top court order on July 22 came in response to a petition by the former nun seeking police protection after her expulsion on charges of disobedience and breaking religious vows.
Kalapura refused to move out, pleading that she had no place to go. But the court directed police to give her protection provided “the petitioner is residing elsewhere than at the FCC convent at Karakkamala.”
The court also directed the police to ascertain the truthfulness of the allegations in her complaint. “The continued presence of the petitioner in the convent would only trigger a dispute and there will be continued disharmony,” it noted.
Both appeals were dismissed, leaving her with no other option than to vacate the convent
The court agreed to her demand to seek justice in a lower court and issued directions that her case “shall be heard and disposed of within a further period of three weeks.”
Neither Kalapura nor the FCC has reacted to the order yet.
When her petition came up for hearing in the high court on July 14, Kalapura herself argued her case. She appealed to the court to grant her police protection as she faced threats from her local mother superior and others.
The FCC, however, informed the court that she was expelled from the congregation and was not a rightful member of the convent where nuns live. It also placed on record the dismissal of her appeals by Vatican authorities.
Kalapura had earlier challenged her expulsion in a local court, which restrained the attempts to evict her from the Karakkamala convent in Kerala’s Wayanad district.
Meanwhile, the nun also appealed against her dismissal before the grievance redressal forum of Oriental Churches and Signatura Apostolica, the highest appellate authority in the Vatican.
Both appeals were dismissed, leaving her with no other option than to vacate the convent.
Kalapura maintained that she was dismissed from the congregation, where she had lived for four decades, for supporting public protests demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal in September 2018
Bishop Mulakkal of Jalandhar is accused of raping a nun from the Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under his patronage.
Public protests led to his arrest and subsequent release on bail. The prelate now faces a trial in a court in Kerala.
He, however, continues to be a bishop without any administrative powers after the Vatican appointed an administrator for his diocese.