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Catholic nuns lift veil on abuse in convents

Catholic nuns lift veil on abuse in convents

By Philip Pullella 2

When young nuns at a convent in Eastern Europe told their Mother Superior that a priest had tried to molest them, she retorted that it was probably their fault for "provoking him".

When African nuns in Minnesota asked why it was always they who had to shovel snow they were told it was because they were young and strong, even though white sisters of the same age lived there too.

As the Roman Catholic Church pays more attention to the closed world of convents, where women spend much of their time in prayer and household work, more episodes of psychological, emotional and physical abuse are coming to light.

A new book, "Veil of Silence" by Salvatore Cernuzio, a journalist for the Vatican's online outlet, Vatican News, is the latest expose to come from within and approved by authorities.

Cernuzio recounts experiences of 11 women and their struggles with an age-old system where the Mother Superior and older nuns demand total obedience, in some cases resulting in acts of cruelty and humiliation.

A nun walks in the San Damaso Courtyard at the Vatican Marcela, a South American woman who joined an order of cloistered nuns in Italy 20 years ago when she was 19, recounts how the indoctrination was so strict that younger sisters needed permission to go to the bathroom and ask for sanitary products during their menstrual periods.

© Reuters/REMO CASILLI Salvatore Cernuzio poses for a photograph at the Vatican "You are always complaining! Do you want to be a saint or not?" Marcela, who later left the convent, quotes the Mother Superior as shouting when she suggested changes in the daily routine. Therese, a French woman, was told "you have to suffer for Jesus" when she asked to be spared physically demanding chores because of a back condition.

"I understood that we were all like dogs," recounted Elizabeth, an Australian. "They tell us to sit and we sit, to get up and we get up, to roll over and we roll over."


Last year, Father Giovanni Cucci wrote a landmark article about abuse in convents in the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, whose texts are approved by the Vatican.

He found that most of it was abuse of power, including episodes of racism such as in the Minnesota convent. Cucci said the problem needed more attention because it had been overshadowed by the sexual abuse of children by priests. In 2018, the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano exposed the plight of foreign nuns sent by their orders to work as housekeepers for cardinals and bishops in Rome with little or no remuneration.

It later chronicled a "burnout" syndrome, where younger women with good educations were held back by older superiors reluctant to relinquish a boot camp-style tradition of assigning them menial tasks, ostensibly to instil discipline and obedience.

"Whatever may have worked in a pyramidal, authoritarian context of relationships before is no longer desirable or liveable," wrote Sister Nathalie Becquart, a French member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters and one of the highest-ranking women in the Vatican.

Becquart wrote in the book's preface of the "cries and sufferings" of women who entered convents because they felt a calling from God but later left because their complaints too often fell on deaf ears. Some were stigmatized as "traitors" by their orders and had great difficultly getting jobs in the outside world. Last year, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, who heads the Vatican department that oversees religious congregations, revealed that Pope Francis had opened a home in Rome for former nuns abandoned by their orders. The cardinal, who has launched investigations into a number of convents, told the Vatican newspaper he was shocked to discover that there were a few cases where former nuns had to resort to prostitution to live.


John Bellamy Comments:

Well no surprise there then. Nothing new. Abuse at the hands of the Nuns is nothing new to us these days and ever since the scandal of the Magdalena Sisters was revealed in the 1990's has the world learned of the barbaric, cruel, torturous and down right EVIL that has been handed out at the hands of some Nuns, and it is no surprise it was also dished out to lesser Nuns by higher up Nuns, and the abuse trickled down from Superior to child - and everyone felt its sharp hand. These women of God are all too often ( but not all nuns are bad remember but sadly, too many are ) just a load of fucked up men hating bigots cloistered away festering any resentment, anger and sexual frustration into child abusing monsters capable of murder. And murder they did. Beating to death of innocent children. Horrendous treatment of little girls and appalling treatment to those they consider ' less worthy.' Nuns do some very good and important work, but there is also a very large and prolific side of the church - be it Priests or Nuns who abuse - MASSIVELY - and whether it be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse of even Scriptural abuse - peoples lives are destroyed by the very people who are meant to be holier than thou and not brutal murdering maniacs.

We look to these people for guidance. We look to these people for truth. We look to these people for faith. We look to these people for a way forward and we look to these people to show us how to get to God. But sadly, NONE OF THESE THINGS ARE AVAILABLE ANY LONGER as we truly cannot trust these people as too many - hundreds of thousands - millions - have been abused by this 'Righteous House of God' and no God would allow this and this UNGODLY place - The Catholic Church, is MOST CERTAINLY one of the most evil institutions on the planet -
Everything about it is wrong.

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