My Letter to sr. Prema and MCs to report abuse (long read)
Тhis letter is written in fulfillment of the instruction of my spiritual father and is addressed to reverent sr . Prema, as the Head of The Society , reverent sr Mariyna MC as regional superior, and reverent sr Ancy MC as the Head of Contemplative Branch.
The main topic of this letter is sexual and spiritual abuse which I underwent from Sr. Vicuna MC, at that time Superior of the Contemplative Branch Formation house in Chinsura, in January-April, 2014.
The length of the letter is due to the complexity and interrelation of the events, as well as due to the instruction of my spiritual father to write everything in detail and with an open heart. It is trusted that the time needed for reading, will indeed be dedicated by the reverend Sisters, since the gravity of the events, which possibly affected and still probably affect other women in MC houses.
Instructing me about the importance of writing this letter the spiritual father said " Light should come on that horrible situations, as it might bring justice.... This is the will of God right now".
Remembering these events in detail is very hard for me, writing about them is even harder ... It took me almost 4 years of psychological and spiritual work to be able to share and describe the events more or less coherently here.
For the sake of background I shall begin with elaborating on the special state of soul in which I was when the abuse took place.
As all of you know to different degree, my journey in as MC’ vacation was complex. After the blessed period of service to the poorest of the poor of souls in Moscow’ shishubavan, my aspiranсy in Poland was cut unexpectedly, when the permissions to move farther on were already in place. Until this day no official explanations or feedback took place none of the information was shared with me. Much later, one sister friend told me that that the reason was in something that was said by young woman, with whom we were friends for a while. From my side all I knew is that the young woman, was first a friend then started treating me as an enemy. Then, more than 10 years ago I didn't understand anything in psychological trauma , and couldn't understand her sudden aggression towards me, today I can understand that her hatred was post-traumatic syndrome and transference phenomena from the terrible violence that as she shared with me then, she underwent in her family. Anyhow, this woman has left the society in the next half a year and got married. But my life and my vacation, as time showed were already ruined by this first rumor-wave which later rolled over different regions of society. To repeat till now I do not know what was exactly said, but my struggle to fulfill the vacation of serving the Thirst of Our Lord, has became incredibly difficult.
Finally- God showered on me His grace- after years of continuing to strive to serve with the MC, I got the chance to go to India, to the place where all started. When I came with the whole story about Poland and shared this is detail to sr Nirmala, she told me not to be worried anymore, that am indeed MC vacation and shall give everything to God, and that she will pray that everything will sort out and past will finally belong to past. Each time when I came to Calcutta sr Nirmala was greeting me warmly and spending her precious time with me, this filled me with hope. Also I got significant and deep support from fr Tomy-in his spiritual wisdom he did everything he could to help me fulfill my calling.
Sr Nirmala and Fr Tommy believed that the way for me to join MC at that point, was to join the contemplative branch. Fr Tomy knew sr Viсuna closely, and baptised her entire family, that is why he was very glad that she will become my mistress and superior. As I saw it then -the arrival to India was, my last chance to for a lifelong journey of satisfying God's thirst through service in MC. When sister Nirmala said that I am MC vacation, my joy knew no bounds. All my being was devoted to prayer for the Society and the poorest of the poor. I was overwhelmed by this God's grace and ready and eager for any suffering and hardship for the Glory of the Lord.
Thus, I have embraced the natural sufferings of Chinsurah with love and joy. I embraced and offered to the Glory of the Lord the unbearable heat and storms, the locals that tried to lynch me as MC and as the only white person in the region, no drinking water and sometimes no water at all, mosquitoes that were eating us alive, the bull and the stray dogs that attacked the house,. My humble service in the garden in Chinsurah and the wholehearted prayer was my joy. In summary- it all started very inspiring. My group was small consisting of the mistress and Superior sr.Vicuna, sr. ST and myself. First, it seemed its hard to establish good communication-sr Vicuna seemed to be partially ignoring me, not talking to me much, the communication was quite cold and minimal. This suited me well, since I was very happy with my garden duty and prayer life. To repeat- then, in that period, I was feeling this is my last God given’ chance to join the MC. Since I was a person who could only be there by a miracle, this time I didn’t want to do anything else, except to be with God in gardening and prayer, quietly working on fulfilling His Will for me to join the MC. This time I didn't want to say anything or ask unnecessary questions. I wanted one thing - to get an opportunity to serve Jesus in MC. I wanted new life. Every minute just to go on to be with God in this charism. It was still a state of happiness, despite the small daily routine, every breath was devoted to God and filled with joy in the endless “I satiate”. Jesus was as close as ever.
The first month on arrival in Chinsurah (after 2-3 weeks in Calcutta) passed more or less like this. By the end of the first month, sr Vicuna suddenly began to behave cruelly to sr ST, sending her away, isolating her, sending her to eat on her own and so on. I found it unjust, inappropriate and strange and told her of my opinion few times, however I did not insisted, since my previous attempts to sick justice in MC didn't end up well for me, and as said before- I was terrified about the possibility that even this last, God given chance, will also be not successful. Anyhow on my quite questions - sr Vicuna told that this is for sr ST’ own good.
In parallel, sr Vicuna began to get closer to me and to shower me with love. Starting with questioning me for hours about my previous life, telling me stories of her life and of her friendship with fr Tomy and one other sister, very dear to me. This was becoming more and more frequent, also taking away from sleep time. Looking on it back today, I can understand that all of it was part of one story- first cold treatment, than showering with love, than sleep deprivation-this together with the everyday natural reality of Chinsurah which I have described above- lead to a decrease in my ability to oppose what came next.
At that time the studying also happened very strangely. Especially so, since from the words of Vicuna herself - sr Nirmala told her to only give me books of fr Joseph about Thirst and to sent me for an often adoration to privately meditate on this- according to sr Vicuna, sr Nirmala said- "this child doesn't need anything else. Nevertheless, sr Vicuna began to give me lessons which gradually were becoming more and more bothering (in secular setting- it would have been called simply-sexually harassing). For a short example- in one of her classes she told that one very respected priest have taught her that The Holy communion is “a heavenly falos which enters in our body like husbands’ pennis enters in wife and will bring fruits, and for nuns the Holy Communion is an act of marital love." We were also actively recommended to read Private mystics - some kind of women - one of which was Maria Valtorta. She claimed that Valtorta is a great mystic and that the Church has unjustly tried to forbid her. She told about “bad superior” who took from her Valtorta books, but she has found new ones when in London and since that time she cares them everywhere. Only few years later, I got to know what Valtorta writing really is, and that it is strictly forbidden by the Church. That time it was new name for me.
Thought I found the incestual in their character stories about Mary and Jesus very strange. But Vicuna used examples and her explanation of this book everywhere, like "Bible". I was recommended to read it and I was reading parts trying in obedience to find in it the depth to which she constantly referred.
Every Sunday we were going to the Sanctuary of Our Lady .Long long walking early in the morning. After such kind of classes the degree of sex related conversations at the table, recreation time, during morning mothers letters and instructions readings increased. I explained myself it this way- may be sr ST has some problems related to this, and sr Vicuna tries to help her .
My memory tries to cover up everything this is the hard, so it might be not in proper order what was secondary, what was the third and so on. It was the first. Night prayer. Vicuna should give blessing to everybody. She gives and asks me to go with her to sacristy and asks sr Josephine to take care of something. We go to sacristy. I am terrified. Nothing good can starts in the night. What can it be that cannot wait till morning. Again the story repeats like in Poland? But I didn't do anything, being totally observing rules and obedient and in Calcutta was everything well? Again gossips from the past?
But my fears were unnecessary. She speaks something spiritual, personal and come to the following point: in short as she said - she went to Sanctuary and was praying for me to Mother Mary. She feels pity for my struggles of past. And Mother Mary spoke to her. She heard the voice of Mary saying - “Vicuna you have to be Mother for this child of mine. She suffers a lot. As I was Mother to Jesus you have to be a mother to her and support her. I know she had another spiritual mother, but you should be the one.” Then Vicuna was quoting Valtorta. Said that she understand that I already have spiritual mother who supports me with prayer for many years. But the request of Mary was this. I don't believe in revelations -even fr.Tomy’ ones tested by my scepticism before I opened my heart to him. And I do not need any spiritual mothers more than the one that I have, since my blood mother dying entrusted me to her. I said that. And promised to pray over it.
The next night the story repeated. But additionally she stood up next to me while I was sitting and took my head and hug so strongly on the level of her stomach and was standing like that about 10-15 minutes, I could not get out and didn't know how to react. How long it will last? What is that? I was terrified. It is my mistress and superior.
Than I was thinking about her words- It sounds so crazy but at the same time so reasonable as I struggled a lot. But voices and revelations are so sick. But she is mistress and superior and this means she is the voice of God. My psyche was searching for a solution. Here it came to the point that we can have good relationships. And extra prayers and support never can be extra. Why not? Who knows really who am I to judge her voices& Father Tomy for example extraordinary person and she says she is his friend, she might be really someone special. I was in a mess searching for solution, at the end I took the sure path- she is my superior, Meaning the voice of God, and at the end obedience to her cannot be wrong.
Such evenings started to be regularly. For few hours she was calling me to talk after night prayer. Every day I slept may be 2-3 hours. One evening she said she is going to have a whole night adoration and maybe I would like to join. Surly, I replied- would not miss such a possibility. Long into the night, after a few hours of adoration, she sits close to me and started to share something. Then I went to sleep for few hours before the bell, but she stayed in the chapel. The next night I got the same invitation again. And said Yes ( my hunger for Jesus was so great, though I didn't sleep enough for a week already).This night she was sitting close and sharing stories of her life and what she called betrayals. I felt compassion, kindness, and trust to her. She set in the middle of the chapel, and I was next to her. The whole night she was sharing something in front of the Blessed Sacrament, around 3-4am I was already exhausted. She saw that and asked to put my head on her knee, I didn't want to do it, but she asked again and I agreed. Lying there and looking at Jesus. She whispers something. I felt relaxed and then suddenly she turns my head and I saw her naked breast. Not to stop whispering something about motherhood she put it in my mouth, commending to suck it. I feel paralysed and lost and disorientated so i obeyed. Fear. Owe. Discouragement. Shame. What is happening? Jesus on the altar! Naked breast of superior! It lasted about 5 minutes, after that moment then somebody entered the chapel and the bell rings. I am in shock remaining in the chapel. As you know there is no phone in the house. Only one bengali speaking neighbour has a phone (and I don't speak bengali) and there is a phone in the city. No money, no permission to go out. Once I asked to call to father Tomy and she took me in the city and was standing next to me, so I could not say anything. Once I tried to talk to confessor, who was her friend at that time I couldn't even express or describe well what happened, and was going all around of “my mistress does something which seems to me abnormal" . He said to me again and again that mistress always knows what to do, that my mistress is good and I should obey her whether I like or not what she does, and whether I can understand why she does what she does or not". I tried to explain that something very unreligious is happening, but he did not listen to me. It was her friend. Who knows he might have known what was going on. He was a charismatic himself . Once she took me to him and said that he has gifts from God and can diagnose health problems and God opens to him His will, she was comparing him to Father Tommy. But what happened that was completely opposite to fr Tommy ways- he took rosary like magic pendulum,- if you don't know -this is iron of cristal thing on the tread, used by magicians to “diagnose” something or to get answers from the spirits- esoterics believe that if it moves right side then answer is yes and if to the left than no and not moving is no answer. Very common magician practice. And he started to do the same - he brought a picture with human body, with his one hand he took my hand moving this rosary on that picture. In the places where rosary started to move he was telling diagnosis. I felt this was not one bit like fr Tomy. Being witness to fr Tommy deep union with God, his deep prayer and meditation. And here was this priest, doing occult practice in the parish house, pure New Age. I knew what I am looking at, since in the youth I had experience in pagan and new age things, and when God brought me back to Himself and I came back to the Church for years and years later I was still confessing and praying for the Lord to break all the bounds of the past, with deep repentance.
Coming back to Vicuna. I was frightened if I try to explain this to somebody in Calcutta, they will send me away and tell this is not true or will accuse me, just because she is in sari. This from experience - It happened in small situations to me 100 times before, even when professed sisters were really telling lie I was the one getting accused.
One day after that there was a recollection day. I was doing something in the garden. Novices had adoration. Vicuna appeared from the sacristy and called me there. I was frightened. She put on the fan. The noise covered her voice so the novices who were near couldn't hear what she was saying. She was again speaking a lot, there was something about motherhood, compering her and me with Jesus and Mary and quoting Valtorta, then she again embraced me and after some time started to kiss with the tongue. I was frightened and did not not what to do. Something like that was happening during the next day and after night prayers, she continued to call me to sacristy and speak. Most of the time she was calling me there officially in front of everybody. Then it was sitting, embracing and kissing. But one day she put off the light with using an argument I don't remember, said that she has back pain and wants to lay down on the floor there, asked me to sit next to her. Then in one moment i don't even remember how it happen she put me to lie down with her, then she moved my head on her breast again, than she pushed my body on her and started to move and touch me. Her hand was going inside of my skirt and here I began to plead: please don't do that. She removed her hand. But continued movement with her body on mine. Next day the story has repeated, was the same but after maybe one hour she took me away, I was asking where are we going. She brought me to Mother Teresa’ room, and put me on the bed. Moved her body till she got pleasure commenting it that she offers it for the sins of the world, for those who are living in sin, who are unfaithful in marriage and so on. It was lasting may be till 3 am and then we went up in dormitory. The very next day she took me to that same room. Put me in the bed and said to wait. She laid down in the bed already without clothes. She started to remove my clothes. And the story with movements with naked body and her offerings repeated till she got pleasure till 3-4 am. For weeks, each next day till sr Ancy called me to Calcutta was like that- she put me in the bed she was naked, speaking about sacrifices. Moving her body towards mine and putting with her hand and her genital towards mine, telling me what I have to do, putting her breast in my mouth, making me to lick it and to bite and offering it. She also told me that ST “missed her chance”. That there was another sister who is now in Calcutta, to whom she had “same motherly love”, but she betrayed her by telling about this to another sister and the information went further to superiors, she was then punished and till today her “heart is broken with that betrayal”. She said that I could not betray her- I should keep everything in secret. That she will not be able to bear one more betrayal. Not sleeping already for two month, baring all of the rest and the abuse, I was broken, crushed, lost, had disaster in my head. I was okey only in the chapel alone or during common prayer pleading God, to resolve it, to help me. I didn't want to miss Him again. Why all that happening.
Holy week finished with that strange story of being sent away by sr Anna, since “the Russian occupation of ukraine”. Sr Vicuna started to treat me with cold again, arising in me a feeling of shame. Making me to know she is not interested in me, since I am going away. By then I got my Stockholm syndrome already, with deep feeling of guilt, started to believe in Valtorta’s revelation and so on.
Not going to describe it in more detail - I think this is already more than enough information to get the picture. This was two month of rape, abuse, power relationships, sexual and emotional abuse, blasphemy, sleep deprivation, spoiling church teaching, spreading and teaching heresy, making me to participate in sexual sacrifices to the “god” of Voltorta in front of Blessed Sacrament and in Mother's room, to receive Living God unworthy, breaking my spirit, breaking my faith, forcing me to sin. It was awful - to receive communion in that. And when I was told once that I don't feel to go for communion, she was telling “as superior and mistress”, that nothing wrong happening and there is no reason for that.
Here is one of the main questions that are coming up - sr. Vicuna said that the other story with another sister did became known to the leadership of MC. How could then happen that she became the mistress to other sisters again? I don't know, but now, years after, as recovery took over 5 years and still going on, I don't want what happened to me to repeat to anyone else anymore. Talking to sisters and brothers from different religious orders, I now see that sexual violence is a quite as existing phenomena in church circles, as it it elsewhere, and am writing to you because it should also be treated as it is treated seriously now everywhere, in any other circles.
To clarify additionally, what makes this story especially hard, isn't the sexual violence itself which exists in many other institution, but that it was done in the framework of my spiritual obligation - obedience- my holy obligation, and that silence surrounds this stories in MC instead of awareness.
There was no more terrible day in my life than the one in which sr Anna told me I must leave, at that day the skies fallen I felt, as my vacation was finally buried under the pile of rumors that were running after me in MC. Looking back am grateful to God, as He took me away from that line of abuse, rape and spiritual, as only He knew how even more terribly could my life and faith be broken.
There are things which you can expect in monastic orders as part of your formation, things described in the teaching and life of Saint Faustina for instance or the long and hard way of padre Pio, and so on and even in our Mother’s hard way to the fulfilment of her vacation . This is the reasons am not listing any of so called regular sufferings, coinciding with suffering of the teachers of our religious way.
I am writing to you to tell about suffering which one cannot expect in religious order -being raped, taught heresy, incorporated into satanic rituals, into blaspheming God- all this using the holy commitment of obedience, these are not regular sufferings which meant to be dedicated to our Lord. This shall never happen to anyone. This shouldn't have happened to me.
am certain that the victims of just sister Vicuna are multiple am certain she is not the only one. am certain that the MC carries full responsibility for things happened under obedience in the institution. I wonder sometimes now - if myself, raised in european culture, having secular life before, experiencing terrible trauma, couldn't understand what and why she actually did to me, what about all of the other women, especially those from india to whom similar things happening? do they even understand or they just continuing to carry the trauma through their religious lives? What can be done to prevent such things? I am praying that assuming institutional responsibility for sexual violence within the order will not take MC as many years as it took the our church in US and elsewhere. To prevent more pain and more victims. looking forward for your response, May the Holy Spirit rest upon you,