Sr. TJ’s Answer to Jesme’s “Amen”

S/HE has done it again: the betrayal of Jesus who identifies Himself with His followers (Acts 9:3-6).The time as of old is well-chosen. Once again, it’s the time of prayer and fasting (Lent). However, the betrayal this time has a stretch of unusual scene. Judas is clad in a woman’s attire. He holds a book in his hand and places a ‘bookish- kiss’ on the holy cheek of Jesus-his Lord and Master! “Amen”, he whispers with a malicious intent. The countenance of the coward swells with the promise of a huge political perk that would pale his 30 silver pieces of old into mere peanuts.Hi Jesmi the great writer, I am Sr. TJ, a small writer, greeting you with the Peace of Christ this Lent! You and I have much in common: You are a woman, so am I. You have been a religious sister for 30 years, so am I an Ursuline of Mary Immaculate Sister for 43 years and going on. You’ve been in the Teaching Profession, so have I been an educator for 35 years. You seem to have been interested in reading books like that of the ‘Last Temptation’ of Nikos Kazantzakis, so have I been after that book. But our similarities end with what we both did ever after. While I made the book my ‘last’ temptation really, you seemed to have been playing with the temptation all along until you gave it the shape of a book Amen: “Autobiography of a Nun”!

If the alleged denial of permission from a priest to read Kazantzakis’ book and the long persecution thereafter was the reason that triggered you to write your Amen, in the first place it smacks of ‘revenge’. Your skewed sketch of ‘lurid affairs of sexual repressions, intimidations and harassment in the Church and Convents reportedly, do not wash. There are thousands of consecrated women like me of various Religious Congregations, who albeit much longer years of convent-life than yours, never have had such unholy experiences, stand refuting your abominable allegations on Consecrated life in Convents. Neither am I unfamiliar with the CMC-Congregation which has produced heroic women of high sanctity like Blessed Euphrasiamma and the beautiful girl Mary John Thottam who preferred Jesus her Divine Lover to a human lover, immortalized herself with her ‘Kavitaramam’ and later became Sr. Beningna, CMC of holy memory.Remember that when you point an accusing finger at priests and nuns for lesbian, homo-sexual or hetero-sexual behaviour, the other four fingers of yours point at you in condemnation of the same sin with a greater certainty. By painting yourself as a sex-object or an easy prey to men and women of passion all through your religious life even outside (Bangalore at a UGC- course), you in fact are laying yourself bare before your listeners who are no fools but soon notice the obvious in you! One of the biblical texts tells it all: “Wherever the body is, there will the vultures gather” (Mt 24:28).Judas parted his ways with Jesus after living with Him for three years and you after 33 years! You claim to be on a ‘cleansing-mission”. What and whom are you going to cleanse if not yourself? That your book ‘Amen’ is meant to malign the image of the Church and its related Institutions is there for all to see. But know that your ‘maligning mission’ is nothing but a ‘madness that lacks method’. You have yielded to the lure of the Judas in you!

Your avowal that you have only ‘opened just a window’ on the wall of the convent to bring to light the dust therein and that someone else may dust it out’ has a trace of honesty. Why didn’t you first remove the ‘plank’ from your own eyes before venturing into a cleansing mission of removing the splinter’ from the eyes of others (Mt 7:1-3)? You should have opened the ‘door’ of your own heart to God’s Holy Spirit to sweep the dust out of your own life before hurrying to open a ‘window’ for others’ chastisement!

Be sure that no amount of mudslinging can mar the beauty of consecrated life. It is a state of life built and blessed by the Supreme Beauty- Jesus Christ Himself. Rooted in Christ, committed to Him, lived in His Spirit, shared in His holiness and engaged in His Mission, religious life can never be shaken by the forces of evil or withered away in the poisonous wind of calumny. He Who Calls is Faithful (1 The 5:24). It is He Who chooses, not we the frail humans who chose ourselves (John 15:16, I Cor 1:27). This is not to say that consecrated people are all angels. We are as vulnerable as any human being can be. Nuns and priests are not celestial beings dropped from heavens. We are the same flesh and blood of all of you out there. Bishops, priests and nuns too have feet of clay. Therefore there can be exceptions among us. But then, exceptions are there in every group whether religious or secular. As long as human nature is the same in every one even the holiest of person is not totally free from weakness.Let’s not forget the fact that ‘picking out the weakness of others and magnifying it before the world as to scandalize the uninformed and the innocent is the worst sin that the Lord Himself has condemned in strong terms: “…But any one who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith in me would be better drowned in the depths of the sea with a great millstone around the neck” (Mt 18:6). Crappy books like yours are bound to boomerang on their own makers since all readers are no fools to take such a shit. People with even a cursory knowledge of the purity, nobility and sanctity of consecrated life will certainly rubbish your great Amen. Once the curiosity of the man in the street over your book is over, it will be thrown in the trashcan re-titled, “Aha, men: An aided biography of a None! And there some coolie writers can grab it and reproduce a ‘sorry story, a tete-a-tete shrieker.No honest writer can club you with those revolutionary women writers of Kerala like Kamala Surayya, Sara Joseph or Jameela who took up cudgels to defend the basic rights of women and the exploited poor in an unjust society. While vast is their world vision, your outlook is narrow and nasty towards a particular section of the society. While they bring ‘grace’ to the life of the marginalized, you bring ‘disgrace’ to the whole Church, religious life in particular. You stand as an abomination to the whole womanhood that stands to receive the customary international honour in the month of March. Every true religious sister in India today hangs her head in shame on account of your accursed book. You can be rest assured of the dubious fame of a traitor who went about hand-in-gloves with the enemies of Christ in Kerala.Well, Jesme my friend, it is that time of the liturgical year when we are exhorted to repent. “Rent your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God” (Jl 2:13) is the call of Lenten Season that opens to us opportunities of renewal and self-purification. The betrayal-kiss of Judas and ‘bookish-kisses like yours that betray the Church of Christ can all be turned into “Divine Kisses” from Jesus who in the person of His anointed priest awaits at the ‘confessional’ the return of His erred children.Let us as one family of Jesus follow His Way of the Cross to Calvary to be “Cleansed” and “Healed” of all our impurities and inner wounds with His “Crimson Divine Kisses” from the Cross.Let us look at of each other with love and feel the rush of the same Christian- Blood running through our veins, bask in the glow of that spotless robe we were clothed with at our baptism in Christ, realize the great Prize of His Precious Blood He paid to buy us back from the clutches of Satan and make us worthy of Him and His Kingdom of everlasting happiness. There at the foot of the Cross together let us say:
Amen: “Yes Lord: In Your Sacred Heart lies my destiny”
Sr. T.J.

38 Responses

  1. As a catholic and as a blood relative of many nuns, I know what Sr.Jesmy has mentioned in her book is true to its core.

    Your article looks like a blatant attempt to save the face of catholic church.

  2. thomas manjaly
    maybe the keralite church

    • Dear Sr. T.J,

      Iam from an aristocractic catholic Family Iam aplaud Sr. Jesmes’ book . What we can understand she is a simple honest nun. atleast in the last term of life she shown her honesty to JESUS. Her heart pained like Jesus how he pained at Gethesmen. Why are you trying to upside her in honest views. She is trying to protect atleast to future nuns.Bcoz og her book we all could pray for all nuns and priests. Yes like u said we could understand that you are all simple humanbeings with flesh and blood but you all are spenting a wide and broad period for preparation. If you are having thes e weaknesses come out of the gate of convent and lead a marry life. But you have to meet all challenges of family life.

      You please understand she was not in a position to coming back during her teen age due to the fear towards society and family atmosphere.

      Why you want to hide everything and helping to protect the people who are doing the sins.We are not saying everybody are doing the sins and we all are not looking with a suspecious eyes. If so also why u want to care such type of humanbeings if you are really honesty Towards Jesus.

      If you are not trying / suporting for opening this window, today or tomorrow this will open. Bcoz JESUS is a LIVING GOD.

      WE HAVE TO CORRECT OUSRLEVES FIRST AND WE ALL ARE PRAYING FOR ALL OF YOU.

  3. Sr Jesme sounds honest to the core. Sr T J is simply angry. The Kerala Church needs to investigate.

  4. Sister T J

    You have said it. I was greatly pained when I read about the book today.

    I really do appreciate you to put this across. But it has to reflect in the media through which she chose to defy the church else we will have a bunch of fools who believes in anything and everything which some people choose to put across to malign the great catholic church.

    There are lot of priests and nuns who serve the downtrodden and the very least in the country. Its a shame that someone choose to defy all these people who has deserted everything for jesus

    Thanks

    John

  5. Sr TJ,

    Your righteous indignation is understandable. But you should realize that there are congregations and congregations. And there are convents and convents in the congregations. It is unrealistic to expect uniform culture and character in each of the convents. Some convents are heaven where God’s presence is palpable, and there are convents that are spiritually “confused”. There are convents where quarrels among nuns are a commonplace occurrence; and there are convents where some sexual perverts spread their evil.

    You are probably in a good convent; while Jesme was nurtured in a negative atmosphere. And she, like every one of us, has the right and responsibility to rebel against such evil. When her rebellion is countered with intimidative tactics like branding her as insane, she had no alternative but to leave the congregation. And since Jesme is a well-known person in educational circles in Kerala, for self-preservation, she had to tell her part of the story in order to counter or pre-empt the “insanity” propaganda of the authorities. Also, if the Church would take it in good spirit, it would make proper investigation into the convent life in Kerala and introduce necessary reforms. Hence, instead of blaming Jesme, one should be grateful to her for parting the blinds and letting in some light into the opaque prison called the convent system as existing now.

    Also, to defend the clergy and nuns by apologetically claiming that they had inherited the weaknesses of the society at large, is pious absurdity; I don’t think Obama would attribute his lapses to his father’s weaknesses or his hybrid communities peculiarities. The best thing is to accept things as they are with a clean breast.

    I have close relations in the convents. The stories they tell would be difficult for “good nuns” like you to believe. I don’t mention any of them here.

    The Church should take the whole episode in good spirit, accept the realities, and initiate a reform process.

    • Sr. T.J. has wonderfully and fittingly answered to the Amen of Sr.Jesme, which I have recently read. As I read the book, from the beginning, I gathered an impression that Sr. Jesme is a spoilt in the family and without proper “vocation”, entered the precints of the convent.

      She is more interested in sex films/books/novels and the like which prompted her to land in the lap of some so called priest at Bangalore UGC course. “Now I am curious enough to watch !” Her character is clearly revealed in this sentence of the book. Sr. Jesme has no decency of any sort and the way she has put it through is deplorable and shameful, which even a layman would not attempt, even in this modern time.

      In her entire book, she praises and certifying herself to be the only perfect person in the convent. My conclusion is that she has betrayed Jesus and maligned the Catholic church very badly. It is high time she repents

      I fail to understand why she clung on to the convent when every thing was said to be immoral and unethical there. If Jesme was a straightforward person, she should have left the convent gracefully. Perhaps, she waited for the socalled “Course” to complete.

  6. Dear Sr.TJ,
    At the outset I wish to state that I have read the book. I am born in a devout catholic family and have been associated with the religious since my birth. I totally agree with Sr. Jesme and the contents of her book. It is a well balanced book, which reveals the truth and is not too critical of the catholic church. The faithful in the Catholic Church ought to be grateful to Sr. Jesme for having penned her pleasant and bitter experience as a religious. Some facts that the heirarchy in the catholic church need to take cognicance are :

    1. Sexual abuse of children by Priests covered up by the Bishops of USA has led to the destruction of the catholic church in the USA and loss of faith in clergy. Even the Pope publicly admits to this fact. The incidents in the USA conveniently covered up by the Bishops of the USA led to the universal church being scandalised. Did you Sr TJ desire that the parents of the children sexually abused by priest to cover up the offence just to protect the Clergy which is living in Sin? It appears so when I read your letter against Sr. Jesme. Ofcourse, you have a right to criticise Sr Jesme so do I have a right to support her.

    2. Late Pope John Paul II released a document wherein he acknowledged that nuns and priests have failed to remain committed to their “Vow of Chastity” especially in Africa and few other countries. Vatican has admitted that sexual abuses including abortions are a way of life amongst religious in few countries. Are you Sr. TJ going to write against the Pope for publishing facts in his letter ?

    3. The lesbian relationship amongst nuns witnessed by Sr. Jesme appears to be true as the cots of the nuns are seperated by curtains. They could be 6′ cubicals. Strange noises do provoke a peek into another’s cubicle to identify what is happening in the neighbourhood.

    4. As admitted by you (Sr TJ) which I appreciate, Priests and Nuns are also men and women with a feet of clay. Then why criticise Sr Jesme. She did not brand the entire congregation or community in which she lived as lesbians. She mentioned the happenings amongst few nuns and how the authorities tolerated such nonsense.

    5. Sr. Jesme’s agony is equal to the agony Jesus underwent in the garden of Gethsemane. Her Love for her Spouse ‘Jesus’, lack of support from the family, fear of revealing the truth to the world as the Catholic Church Hierarchy (especially in Kerala which is politically strong and dominated by Men) could result in danger to her life; the failure of the Church Heirarchy in supporting the canonical provisions to financially support a nun who desires to leave the nunery; the attempt of the Mother General and the Provincial of CMC to declare Sr. Jesme as a psychatric patient are all cases of violation of human rights, women’s rights and criminal in nature. Blessed Fr Chavara must be regreting (wherever he is) having started the CMI & CMC congregations. Some of the CMI & CMC congregations running educational institutions need to introspect on whether they are following the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Catechism. To make the scandal stick to Jesus Christ they name their institutions by the name “Christ”!!!

    6. Sr. Jesme did fight within her congregation against collection of donations. Dear Sr.TJ, if today Jesus Christ and his followers are disliked in India it is because of the active priests and religious who run educational institutions and have commercialised it. Please note that if donations are banned by law by the government , collecting donations amounts to corruption. Also remember when an educational instution indulges in corruption by collecting donations, the child sees her/his parents desperatly taking loans with tears to give the child the best education. Dear Sr TJ, if the Church can claim to be a pioneer in promoting education in India, the present church is the pioneer in promoting and institutionalising corruption through donations in our poor country. Looking at the way the Church flourished in wealth through her educational institutions, other denominations/people of other faiths have now aggressively taken to this trade of starting educational institutions. Dear Sr TJ, doesn’t the catholic catechism teach us to be obedient to the law of the land. Then Why is the Catholic Church not following this? I find it difficult to answer my children when we see the injustice meted out to christians by the church heirarchy, clergy and the religious. Have you not converted the Fathers House into a Robbers Den??? Please do not conveniently quote scriptures to buttress your points. Scriptures should be quoted in the right context and not out of context as done by you in your letter. In fact we Christians call the Government of the land “Pagan”. But let me tell you and remember this Sr TJ till you reach your grave, that the Government of our land is truly Christian and our Christian educational institutions are “Pagan”. Government pays just wages and all benefits to the teachers without collecting any fees from the people whereas our educational institutions collect maximum fees under the guise of giving value based education and pay the teachers the least. Do you agree with me?

    6. I do not know Sr. TJ why you have conveniently disregarded some of the hard facts placed before the world by Sr. Jesme. Especially the discrimination of nuns on the basis of caste, and class. Are you aware of the fact that Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, (Hope you know who this great Son of India is!!!) during his visit to Kerala had a special mission. He wanted to give a call to all the Dalits to embrace christian faith. After visitng one of the Churches in Kerala he found that the seating arrangements were on the lines of class, caste etc., He was shocked to find this discrimination in a land which claims to be the first Christians in india but ….. It was then that he gave a call to the Dalits to embrace Buddhism.

    7. Sexual attempts mentioned by Sr. Jesme – I believe they are facts, well presented, and does not scandalise any person. Sr. Jesme is very clear that she has not branded all the religious as sexually perverted persons. She has only highlighted her life story and you Sr. TJ have no authority to condemn the fundamental right of Sr. Jesme in informing the world of how her dreams of pious life were shattered within the four walls of the convent. In fact few years ago two nuns were found dead in Mumbai and their autopsy report spoke of sexual abuse. None of us are scandalised by this report. People know that there are good and bad people in every group. Amen.

    8. Sr. Jesme has rightly pointed out the fact that the family of a nun should not desert her if she desires to quit. I sympathise with the widowed mother of Sr. Jesme – a pain this women endures like that of Virgin Mother Mary who is unable to support her daugher nun and at the same time herself needs the support of her other children for her survival. It is mandatory for the church (if the church authorities practices what she preaches and if the church has a conscience)to support Sr. Jesme with financial support. It is graceful for a nun or priest to quit if they cannot endure the harassment or suffering within the four walls of their vocation. There is no need to feel bad about their exit. In fact all of us Christians including myself are called to Holiness but at times attaining Sainthood and enduring the trials and tribulations undergone by saints is not possible by all.

    9. The desperate attempt of the church authorities to brand Sr. Jesme autobiography as that of a Prostitute is an admission of guilt by the church that they have something to hide. The church authorities should remember the first teaching of Jesus Christ when He started his Ministry “Repent and Believe in the Gospel”. It is shameful and an act of a coward to brand Sr. Jesme as a Prostitute. The church should believe in the teachings of Christ and Practice his first call.

    10. After reading the Bible, the second book that increase my love for Jesus Christ was “Amen – the autobiography of a Nun”. I firmly believe that Sr. Jesme loves her Spouse Jesus Christ and did derive her strength from Jesus. I do not think I could endure such a shock treatment by the authorities. The book spoke at length how a battered, shattered individual can find solace in a True Friend called Jesus Christ.

    11. Sr. Jesme’s book calls for a Suo Motto Action by a Court of Law to investigate into her case and render justice to Sr. Jesme. The series of suicides, murders and exits from convents need to be probed by a Human Rights Team. Violation of Human Rights and Fundamental Rights of an honest and responsible citizen of India like Sr. Jesme, deserves to be probed by the highest forums rendering justice in India. The Mother General and the Provincial who ventured to declare Sr. Jesme a psychatric patient needs to be given a taste of the law of the land. The suicide of Sr. Anupama Mary also needs a thorough probe who happens to be Sr. Jesme’s companion.

    12. It is also appropriate for the Divine Retreat Centre to clarify the statement of Fr Pannackal which as alleged by Sr. Jesme has been distorted by the Mother General and Provincial of her former congregation. This is to keep the Divine Retreat Centre out of controversy.

    I only pray that our Lord Jesus destroys the corrupt and anti Jesus Church and resurrect a new Church committed to His Love, Peace and Universal Brotherhood. Well done Sr. Jesme.

    • “Amen” is a reasonably good book from the literary angle. Its religious and moral overtones do not at all cross the threshold of decency or propriety. But a hell seems to have been let loose by religious authorities of whom Sr TJ seems to be a self-appointed spokeswoman. But her type of criticism is devoid of seasoned reasoning, and has a counter-productive effect. It is replete with raw anger borne out of intolerance and frustration. Spokesmen of the Syro-Malabar Church and KCBC have tried to dismiss the book and its author as not relevant in their scheme of things. They would continue this ostrich policy till they are cornered as in the USA. Today, priests in US do not get the type of respect they used to get before the pedophile scandal shook the Church. The Kerala Church is inexorably heading in that direction. And our priests don’t see the straws in the wind. Nor do they listen to lay persons’ opinions. It would be too late if and when they realise the truth.

    • Your response has so impressed me that I am desirous of discussing things with you. May I therefore invite you to respond to me? My e-mail ID is: asarthose@gmail.com

  7. I have already submitted my comment on july 11th 2009.

  8. I simply sympathise with Sr.TJ for her outpourings on Jasme.Sr.TJ has not studied OSHO who has in strong terms condemned the mysterious happenings in the Churches even some 40 years back.History alaways repeats since no one is willing to learn from History.

  9. This is a request to IPSBU.

    There ia an article by Sr T J commenting about Sr Jesme’s autobiography entitled “Amen” (April 02, 2009). I have given my comment on Sr TJ’s commentary (July 05, 2009). Subsequently, one Mr. Michael N too has given his comments (July 11, 2009). I find Mr. Michael’s comments very logical and reasonable.

    This is the favour I ask of you IPSBU. Can you give me Mr. Michael’s e-mail ID so that I can get in touch with him? I know that his permission is needed. Could you seek his consent on my behalf? Or, could you request him to write to me? My e-mail ID is already there with you.

    Looking forward to a favourable response, and with high regards,

    Yours in Xt,
    A Sarthose
    18/08/09

  10. Hi,

    I support the views of Sr.TJ

    Being a catholic I believe that it was the sexual desires of jesme which ended her up in situations like that. She might have persuaded others to have sex with her.

  11. Sr.TJ,

    I agree with u.
    When people cry out so loud about human right violations in church, why are they silent about wives being beaten up by husbands under the influence of alcohol, families being orphaned by politicians in Kannur etc…???
    Why are we focussing so much on one or to priests or or nun who seem to be not so holy, without noticing thousands of them sacrifice their lives for the poor and marginalised…???

    N.B: “Crappy books like yours are bound to boomerang on their own makers since all readers are no fools to take such a shit.” Please remove the word ‘shit’.

  12. I am a Catholic, and am pained about the revelations contained in Jesme’s book. Pained not because she wrote them frankly, but because those things happen in our convents. Drugging nuns after calling them insane! A serious criminal act!! As for sex, it is nothing – it happens everywhere. I don’t think there is even one priest who has not succumbed to the temptation of the flesh at some time or other in his life. Soliciting in the confessional after getting to know the weaknesses of the women-penitents is a regularly reported phenomenon in America. In India, the faithful are docile and such things do not get reported. By the way, have you ever seen priests anywhere without being surrounded by women? And what is sauce for the gander (priest) is sauce for the goose (nun) too. I personally feel pity for priests and nuns who had at one weak moment in their romantic adolescence fell for God-romance and vowed to eternal celibacy in the worldly sense. That does not mean that the Church is not doing many admirable charity work.

    In other words, Jesme had only mentioned her personal experiences without generalising them and maligning the entire convent-system or the Church.

    But truth hurts. And Sr T J is obviously stung to the quick. Her angry outburst is a result of that hurt.

    The Church should read the book and see what measures need to be taken in the light of the revelations contained in the book. And a really mature Church would keep Sr Jesme on its side as a comrade-at-arms in this cleansing task and not as an adversary. If the bishops treat her with suspicion, it would imply they are not mature enough to convert her statements into a long term opportunity. Yes – every “threat” will be converted into an opportunity by a balanced and mature leadership.

    I hope Ranjini an Saju would understand. God bless you.

  13. ibps must be ashamed to publish something like this!

  14. What Sr Jesme says is true to the core. I really admire her courage and boldness to reveal the truth in front of the public being a woman which is considered to be helpless in Indian context. She has undergone a tremendous trauma which is one of the grave concerns in practically all the congregations. I am a religious and I also know what happens in the congregation, how the politics is played. People who follow all the rules and regulations, try to do better for the congregation as well as for the people have to face similar trauma as Sr Jesme did. It is her spiritual strength that she could survive in the congregation for these many years finding the will of God in whatever she faces in spite of all the torturous treatment.
    In the matter of fact, those who are capable in academic excellence and higher or better than any other in the community or the congregation, are looked down, criticized, forced to feel lonely or whatever possible to discourage them. In one hand, as norms of the congregation, they demand a lot of excellence and initiatives, on the other hand, they harass them out of jealousy to the extent that the person is bound to be discouraged in spite of prayers and company of Jesus.

  15. I agree with you Sr.T.J

  16. Sr.Tj’s response to Amen is very satisfying. It is more logical than the Amen of jesme. It is well constructed where as Amen is a bunch of contradictions. It is more rationally gratifying where as the Amen is an outburst of emotions. Sr.Tj’s response is philosophical where as Amen does not even fulfill the basic requirement of a common sense work. Jesme should have come out in public when things were not going well when she was young and not at the old age of 52. Perhaps at 52 she feels that the prime of life is lost and a cloud of dark hovers over. Sorry sr.Jesme, Amen- A wrong decision for which you will regret once your initial days of desperation are over. There is something fishy about Amen and a serious reader will smeal rat there. Congrats sr. Tj.

  17. Dear Reader.
    I have just finished reading the book and I have to say that I am appalled across various fronts… and most of them are not even religious.
    1: the writer seems to possess only a rudimentary knowledge of the english language, one she professes to have gone on to do her doctorate in!.. Seriously! Basic sentence construction is agonising to read and one tends to self-correct through the book..Episode begin and end with no cohesiveness and smacks of rambling..
    2: the sexual advances the writer goes through her vocation seems to be frequent and recurring.. As any woman, cloistered or not will tell you, it is extremely rare for one to be similarly pursued by several unconnected people It reeks of invitation. I’m sorry.. but I find it hard to believe that she has been a victim several times over…
    3: The writer also seems to be a career victim.. probably stemming from some kind of childhood angst, where her persecution complex forms the entire block of her writing.. does no one find that strange?
    4: The writers problems also seem to be almost exculsively with authority and not anyone ranked below her… that in itself is a really telling statement, and I personally know of a gentleman, who is ex IIT and IIM, who is currently unemployed because of his contstant belief that he is mentally superior to his superiors… a trait that is detestable and quite honestly, leads to persecution.
    5: when the writer comes to a position of power [principal] she goes on to shamelessy extoll her virtues and forward thinking.. which unfortunately only seems to revolve around the media… she even goes on to shockingly say that the CMC founder would actually approve her methodology and eradicate all schools and colleges and focus entirely on the media!!!!!! Wow!.
    6: I once had a person working for me who constantly was the victim of theft.. her purse.. her bag.. her clothes.. and whatnot.. The regularity at which these instances happened, caused alarm bells to ring in my head.. and rightly so.. She turned out to have a persecution complex and truth be told.. it turned into a cry wolf situation.
    7: sorry sr. Jesme.. While you may have one or several valid points to make, the whinging tone of your narrative [ and i use the word narrative, loosely] defeats the purpose. Less is more, Sr. Jesme..
    8: And here is a big question Sr. Jesme: How much did you get paid for the book and do you have a film deal yet?.. How that would warm the cockles of your heart!..
    9: And I would really like to know about the lay ministry our lord Jesus has exhorted you to front.. What of that?.. Do you have any plans on that as yet.. have you been able to take time off from your book signings to do that?

  18. I know that what she tells about priests and nuns is 100% truth from my experiences. Her account is truthful. The arguments raised by Althea Delmas-Kaushal doesn’t hold good as the sex appeal, the environment and the kind of people you interact with decides how much sexual encounters a woman will be getting. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the lady was “inviting”. This is a usual argument to tarnish complaining women. Usually some women may not interest men because of their unattractiveness or they may enjoy the encounters and may not be as truthful as Sr. Jesme to narrate it to others (Holier than Thou!)
    One error with the Malayalam translation is Sylvia Plath’s description of the penis as “turkey neck and turkey gizzards” is translated as “head of a tortoise” which is entirely different.
    Even though some arguments of Althea Delmas-Kaushal cannot be dismissed, the entire merit of the book in its ability to describe her torture and helplessness can also not be ignored. Althea Delmas-Kaushal only sees the bad. When some one tells truth and acts inconveniently, most of the authorities try to bully and torture people and finally try to make them “mental cases”. I myself has experienced this bullying and a colleague of mine is being branded as “mental case” for telling “distasteful truths”.
    Then UGC teachers routinely get PhDs and are also groomed by CAP to show more than they have. This is valid for any CV in any field now. So we can pardon Sister Jesme for her “enhanced CV” and appreciate her truthfulness.
    But I couldn’t understand how she co-operated (enjoyed?!) with another sister in homosexual activities and blame the other person alone and how she justify showing her body to the Bangalore Father and what transpired before he showed the “milk like fluid” to her.

  19. i couldn’t understand how she co-operated with another sister in homosexual activities and blame the other person alone and how she justify showing her body to the Bangalore Father and what transpired before he showed the “milk like fluid” to her.????????????

    2. what is the present situation jesme?

  20. I agree & disagree with Althea Delmas-Kaushal.

    (1) The English version of her book I have not seen. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the book contains grammar and spelling mistakes as observed by Althea. I have come across gross language errors in English translations, partly because of the translator’s mistakes and partly because of the publisher’s negligence. Many publishers don’t wait to get the proof approved by the author. In the present case, I don’t know if the author had been consulted before the print order was given.

    (2) Some women are too cordial with men that men take advantage of their good nature. That is how some brothers and uncles seduce their sisters/nieces. That is how authority figures (bosses, teachers, priests, elderly neighbors, etc) take advantage of such girls.They can’t say NO at that moment. They may not have the energy to scream their protests. This might have been the situation she encountered in Bangalore.

    (3) & (4). Yes; she might have been a “career victim”. I was myself a kind of career victim when I was in service. My subordinates adored me; but my superiors were uncomfortable with me. When I received an award from the Central Government for meritorious services, it sent shivers down the spine of my Chairman. I was a popular executive in my organization, and I stood for the rights of my subordinates. No one detested me. I guess the Nun too was popular with her students; but her superiors found her a hot potato, because she challenged them on occasions for genuine reasons.

    (5) to (9). No comments.

    *About Blessy’s observations*

    The Nun might have “enjoyed” the encounter. She might have directly participated in the “milk-like-fluid” adventure. But she has kept its details to herself. Maybe, it was a good literary devise to keep things half-revealed and half-concealed. That way, the episode would keep the reader’s imagination stimulated.

    But the important message she seems to be conveying is the anarchic conditions that are there in our convents – sexual aberrations and financial irregularities and an overall atmosphere of non-accountability. In that effort, I feel that she has succeeded. But the readers’ attentions are distracted by the over-powering sexual encounters narrated in the book; such things obscure the central message. Everybody is stuck on the scintillating side-issue of the “turkey’s head and gizzards” and the milk-like-fluid flowing therefrom! (Incidentally, even if she were herself subtly guiding the priest into the situation, I would not waste my time by getting stuck on her tastes and sexual proclivities and forget the basic issues troubling the Church.)

    So, SR TJ, sorry to disagree with a conventional nun like you. After eading your comments, I found it difficult to feel any warmth for you.

    • I broadly agree with Mr Jacob. But let me make an inconsequential correction to Blessy’s observation. It must be turkey’s (or rooster’s) head & “wattles” and not “gizzards”. Gizzard is an internal organ facilitating digestion of food. “Cock” is a word that has acquired a sexual connotation because its head and wattles together resemble the external genitals of the human male.

      She must have deliberately changed the metaphor to tortoise’s head, because that seems to suit the situation better.

  21. I submitted my comments in response to the observations of Mr. Jacob. But Jacob’s comments are not seen here. Has it been removed?

  22. I think SR Jesmi is prostitute that why she came out from the convent life

  23. Dear Sr. TJ,

    Let me share my thoughts on this. may be it is too late to respond now, but very recently only I had a chance to read Amen and watch Sr. jesme’s interview in TV.

    I am not a great fan of Amen. It is just a book published for the sake of it and as you said cannot be compared with the works of Madhavikkutty (Kamala Surayya didnt write anything great) Sara Joseph and … did you say Jameela? When did she got a position akin to those of Sara Joseph and Madhavikkutty? The only novel thing about that book was that it just created a new Era of writing – the confession series. Followed many.. and if you Amen is not different. May be the craft of writing was not comparable as all those confessions were scripted by others, not by the confessors themselves.

    All those books were attempts to justify one’s stand or one’s past. Sr. Jesme did the same. She failed miserably on many occassions within the book itself, but it was the attempt that need to be applauded. have you read Nalini jameelas work? Or that of Maniyan the Thief? I am sure, you have not. read them before reading Amen, for a better perspective of the entire scenario.

    The text published under your name, apparently written and editted by many is just an attempt to cover up the administrative issues within the church. I am not annointing Sr. Jesme as a saint, she has failed / fallen many times. But as a community, what did the congregation do to support some one in that state? Are you sure that all those novices in various convents now are there because of pure voccational call? Constraints from the real / practical life push many girls to this – as an easy profession. Can you deny this? I still remember in olden days, girls from very rich families were abundant in convents. But look at the number / ratio of rich / poor among those joined convents in 70’s /80’s etc. When such an imbalance between pure vocation and forced vocation exists, what Amen portrays is quite possible. I have many relatives in various congregations and I was grown up in an environment which was very much related to priests and nuns.

    I am not saying everybody there are bad. As you have rightly said, there are exceptions in any group.

    My only question here is, has the church ever done a public court marshall of such people? I am not denying the fact that Pope Benedict is now on a confession spree for things happened centuries ago. But who is bothered about the present?

    Such things will definitley create a bad image and it has already happened to a great extend. We must get into a self cleansing prosess ASAP and set the things right. Instead of challenging the Governments, let us get ourselves clean. Church primarily has to provide devotional support, not material support.

    Anony.

  24. Great job Sr.T.J

  25. good work sr tj

  26. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

  27. i started reading this book. after few pages i threw it in dust bin. that is were it should be.

  28. I may be very late in reading “Amen” though heard about the controversial book long time before.Trying to see the “unseen God” in a seen flesh is very natural and normal for human beings over a period of time. And the very concept of women being denied motherhood, itself is un-natural as celebacy is naturally possible only among men(if they wish to) since they have XY chromosomes and are called “Ardha nareeshwaras”. And women are like Nature – Earth, which maintain a chain of life giving birth to Plants, Animals or humans.

    Refering “Amen” with above facts I feel there isnt any woman without wishing at least once to give a birth when comparing her to The nature, Earth. For that God invented the most beautiful thing Sex.hence All women at some point of time have been heavenly chanced to (or simply faced) the sexual temptations.Thus there is nothing so explosive in “Amen” as well as every other women autobiography speaks about such heavenly interventions for Sex by men or fellow mates. because Sex was invented not by human being but God Himself, if with mutual consent.

    “Amen” speaks about certain lapses in the present functioning of the church and its congregations to which authorities may open up their realistic eyes & not dreamy at least. Especially for certian criminal brainworks to make a person “insane” while he or she speaks against the instituion as that happened in older times in the Defence establishments, is a serious matter to call for intervention.

    Faith in Jesus is Individual and will never hamper fellow congregates in any manner since I believe this book opens to three kinds of readers.

    1. The Sleepers- One who feels the world sleeps&gets up with him/her and moves as per his thoughts & Plans.

    2.The Fakers – They resemble the sleepers but are aware or trying to be aware of the unslept world while remaining in the bed closing their eyes.

    3. The Non-sleepers – They react even to the silence and remain unslept all through.

    So to this book, the “Sleepers” react opponetly,the “Fakers” keep their silence as well while accepting some facts as real and the “Non – sleepers” rake up the controversy by over popularising those very few explicit remarks.

    So Dear Readers, Trust me this is a normal casual book without anything abusive, hurting, explicit or anything except an eyeopener to functional disorders in the Church, congregations & Catholic Authorities.

    Rgds,
    Roy Francis
    roysinger43@gmail.com

  29. instead of sister tj’s outrage why doesnt she call for investigations ,am an african and i know what sister jesme is talking as a fact from my own country! instead of covering these things up we should come up and fight them instead

  30. Dear All,

    I am a HIndu. Till date I do believe that Hindus Gurus are most corrupted but with this book I realize that well discipline religions are alos infected with this virus. Thanks to sister Jesme for brought it in front.

    Kumar

  31. It is a useless work. I read it once and the inconsistencies in the book are innumerable. It appears to be a fabricated stuff to express her dissatisfaction in life. When one gets frustrated this is often the outcome. Happiness is God’s gift and it does not rest with everyone and certainly not with Jesme. So much is clear. My prayers for Jesme and every one who is struggling with frustrations in life. Being unmarried is not meant for everyone and when an unmarried person is frustrated it is disastrous. Jesme is a typical example.

  32. Greetings! Very useful advice within this article!

    It is the little changes that will make the largest changes.
    Thanks for sharing!

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