A former nun, who quit the convent complaining of sexual harassment, is all set to release her autobiography.
"All those memories of the life in convents are burning in me like embers. I know when I write it down, it will hurt many. But someone has to speak the truth," says Mary Chandy.
The 67-year-old nun left the Daughters of Presentation of Mary in the Temple (DPM) 12 years ago.
Chandy said she walked out when the Church branded her as a "misfit” after she complained against a priest who tried to rape her.
Her autobiography titled Swasthi [Hail] and published by Kairali Books in Kannur will hit the stands soon.
Chandy wants to expose the “debauchery” she witnessed in the convents during her stint as a nun through her book.
More than a decade after stepping out of the convent at Perumpunna in Peravoor in Kerala’s Kannur district, the former nun continues to live an austere life.
She resides in a rented house-cum-orphanage called Santhisadan Charitable Society at Pulpally in Wayanad district.
The orphanage houses 17 children.
Wayanad is a tribal-dominated district that relies on agriculture and has witnessed a series of suicides by debt-ridden farmers.
Chandy has been planning to write the book ever since she left the convent but could not do so as she was caught in a fight to survive.
"I am not a writer. For me it is more important to take care of the children in my orphanage," she says.
But as a “nun” she feels that she has a social commitment to talk about the corrupt practices that happen inside the convents.
The rape attempt inside the convent has left an indelible impact on Chandy.
The sexagenarian says that nuns getting “pregnant and trying to kill the newborns are commonplace in convents”.
She claims to have saved a newborn baby when the mother, a nun, tried to kill the baby by pushing it inside the tank of a toilet.
"That boy is a student who lives the life of an orphan," she said.
She feels that the life in convents in Kerala is so miserable that it is high time that priests are allowed to marry.
“If you preach celibacy, you should practice it. Otherwise leave the priesthood and lead a normal life," she says.
Unlike Sr. Jesme, who wrote about sexual abuse in her book Amen: The Autobiography Of A Nun after she left the convent, Mary wants to continue her life as a nun.
"My life has been a struggle and it has been devoted to care of orphans," she concludes.