It’s seems like the Catholic Church in Kerala will imminently implode—Sister Lucy Kalappurackal’s seminal fight against her Order, Franciscan Clarist Congregation, and a section of the priests taking up cudgels against Major Archbishop George Alencherry—throw up fault lines that can seriously disrupt and redraw the contours of the Catholic faith, as it is traditionally understood and practiced.
In a world that has seen celebrated icons fall off their pedestals in the wake of the Me-Too campaign, the Church cannot be immune to the winds of change that are blowing. By hoisting the flag of revolt, Sister Lucy may have set the cat among the pigeons and initiated something that bring about reform within the monasteries, which have become a symbol of exploitation and violation of human rights. Sister Lucy asserts she has moral authority on her side, her only ‘crime’ being she came out in support of a fellow nun, who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal raping her, and took part in the strike orgainsed by nuns in public.
It is not sheer coincidence that the mantle fell on Sister Lucy—for her own entry into the religious order was of her own volition quite unlike most other nuns, for whom it may have never been a personal choice. She had got the religious calling when she was in tenth grade. She joined a Christian college and stayed in a hostel run by the nuns for better understanding of convent life. When she decided to join the order, the decision was wholly hers.