On 27th March 1992, exactly ten days after Good Friday celebrations, St Pius X Convent in Kottayam (India) received one of the worst news ever, Sister Beena Thomas (Abhaya), the daughter of a local farmer was no more. Her lifeless body was found in a water well in the convent. Her slippers scattered on the convent kitchen floor-one near the entrance while the other next to the fridge. Sooner, the news reached everywhere and it would turn out that she had committed suicide, as alleged by Church’s clergy, reason being that she was depressed since she came from a poor background. An investigation was launched and it would be closed before long citing that she had indeed committed suicide, thanks to the church’s earlier report on the cause of her death.
Even with nail marks on both sides of her neck and two lacerated wounds on her head (post mortem examination results), the church said that she had taken her life. The nun’s biological father, however, refuted the claims that her daughter had committed suicide. He insisted that she’d never take her life no matter how worse the situation could be. He strongly believed that her daughter was murdered. This led to reopening, closing and reopening of the same case over and over. Finally, on 24th January 2020, almost three decades later, a court in India confirmed her father’s fears and had Father Kottor( A parish priest) and Sister Sephy sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Sister Beena Thomas on the eve of 27th March, 1992. After 29 years, justice was finally served. Why was she killed though?
The court was informed that on the fateful night, Raju, a member of the church cum a local thief, trespassed onto the convent and went to straight to the kitchen to steal copper plates from the terrace, just like he was used to; he had actually stolen the plates twice before and this would be his third attempt. He had planned to sell the plates in the black market. However, on that day he was a blessing in disguise-at least. He witnessed the duo murder the nun in cold blood. He later came out to testify but in a bizarre turn of events, he was taken into custody and kept in the station for 58 days. It is alleged that the church influenced the police hence the compromising of the whole justice department. After failing to give false information, Raju was offered a huge sum of money to keep him shut, nonetheless he was adamant and that led to justice being served eventually.
According to the court documents, a parish priest, Father Kottor and Sister sephy (Convent hostel in-charge), were having an intimate affair. On that night, Raju heard footsteps coming towards the kitchen and hid, the footsteps were Fr Kottor’s and Sister Seby’s, they had actually come to the kitchen to have some good time together. Not so long, Sister Beena made her way into the kitchen to collect water and ‘accidentally’ bumped on the love birds. The duo would then hit her on the neck four times with wood before taking her body to the water well within the premises. All this was to keep the illicit relationship; besides, she’d have reported them anyway.
Sounds like a written script, right? It ain’t.
On 5th, February 2019, in a publication by The New York Times, the Roman Catholic Pope (Pope Francis) publicly acknowledged that nuns were sexually assaulted. Catholic nuns have accused clerics of sexual in the recent years in India, Africa, Latin America and Italy (NY times publication 5th Feb. 2019). A Vatican magazine too ever mentioned of cases where nuns have been obliged to abort or even sire children with the priests.
Not a long ago, my childhood friend, let’s call her Mary, was forced to get back to the ‘streets’ after what she termed as sexual advances from a parish priest of one of the major convents in Kenya. She felt that the convent wasn’t her ideal ‘home’ as she had projected it to be. She is currently doing good ‘out here,’ she loves it.
The bottom-line is: We are humans, our bodies are biologically set to act in a certain a way, we can try suppress feelings but at times may not successfully do it. To avoid such embarrassments the only solution is to allow those willing to marry/get married to do so. There is no harm in serving your spouse at home and serving the Lord at the alter; two masters, different work stations.