• Eli D

My reflection on my story of sexual abuse in MCs

Обновлено: июнь 28

"I am Mary", she said, "you are my Jesus, you will never betray me"- on sexual abuse of religiose by religiose. #missionariesofcharitytoo #metoo #churchtoo

As I am reading the stories of victims of Jean Venier, the pictures are coming back.

February of 2014, Missionaries of Charity' formation house, Chinsurah, India. By that night I haven't had a good sleep for over two months, exhausted by myriads of routine hardships of far inner India- the absence of drinking water, the deadly attacks of insects, the heat heading up to 55c, the local pagan gang routinely waging violent attacks on the monastery and myself.



"Would you like to join night long adoration?" the superior, Sr. Vicuna MC said. How could I refuse such a privilege? I was still insanely grateful and happy for being in formation in Missionaries of Charity. Becoming a missionary of charity, following Mothers' steps in serving the poorest of the poor, serving Jesus in them, satisfying the infinite thirst of Jesus on the Cross - this was all that my heart could desire.

It is there, in front of the altar, she drew me close to her breast. I was terrified, didn't breathe. What is happening? How to stop this? "You need a spiritual mother", she said.

The pictures are coming back from another night. She took me to Mother Teresa's room. "We are like Jesus and Mary now, you know, Our Lady told me this is what we must do, to sacrifice, for all those whose sin is lust". She took off her cloth.


I remember the intense fear, day and night, the only non-Indian person in hundreds of kilometers, no money to travel, no phone to call. Above all, was the fear that only one word from her, and my path to the congregation will close forever.

Reading the stories of Vanier victims... The formation lessons she was giving us, were based on the writings of Maria Valtorta. Quite terrifying reading that was - the New Gospel, as its followers call, it included stories of Jesus acting as a chat boy, having a semi incestual relation with Maria, exchanging sexual jokes with Peter, watching a naked John with an almost lust. To me this all sounded so terrible, she said that I do not understand the depth- "this is very deep" she said, so deep that the Church could not yet acknowledge that.



Another night at Mother's room. She has taken off her clothes, "Mother Mary came to me as said I should be your spiritual mother now. Like Mary was to Jes


us."

Afraid, isolated, dependent, I hoped for a rescue in confessional. "Father, my superior does something very wrong to me". "Superior is never wrong child, you need to follow all she says to you".


I remember something breaking in me.

Jean Vanier with Mother Teresa, 1973

Two full months of sexual abuse and blasphemy, until, as I understood much later, the rumors have got to Calcutta. She and I were called to Mother's house from where I was immediately sent away, no explanations provided. "Putin has occupied Ukraine", they said," you must go". This was the end of my 10 years long journey with Missionaries of Charity. Then came my own long 5 years of living hell, struggle to continue to live, struggle not to leave the church, struggle to believe.

Sister Vicuna MC was transferred to another region, as she was transferred times before for the same transgressions.

"You are my Jesus", she said one night, "you will not betray me, as the others to whom I have reviled this secret before, did".

Reading some of the reactions of "good Catholics " to Vanier's victims, and the "spiritual context" of this abuse, I remember the reply from a nun- a friend whom I have written about the abuse in the context of Valturta' heretical writings. "Valtorta's visions are very good spiritually wise. She is being canonized now."

There was also that another response from a priest close to MC congregation, "it's better to forget it all and move on".

Part of the so needed courage to survive and continue against odds, I was drawing from a year-long service as an assistant in L'Arche, Poland. No words can describe how incredibly loving, necessary, blessed is the institute and its work. Their response and the support of the victims are a powerful illustration of its beautiful spirit. Reading L'Arche's response I am remembering father Peter MC, who was overwhelmingly supportive and wrote me words of love and warmth. Father Janus SJ, who has supported me through the entire process, father Mathew CMI, who generously offered his psychological and spiritual help.

"You are my Jesus", she said one night, "you will not betray me, as the others to whom I have reviled this secret before, did".

In my own journey, no end is near. I have begun an inquiry process with Missionaries of Charity a year and a half ago. It only got to the canon lawyer's inquiry until now. I can only hope that the final MC's response' will be similar to that of L'arche to the victims of Vanier.

The topic of sexual violence among religious, lay and ordained is surfacing these days everywhere in the Church' circles. Horrifically so, sexual violence is still happening in almost any human institution, in Church too. What matters at the end is how we repent, and what we do to repair, to support the victims and to prevent further harm.

"Putin has occupied Ukraine", they said," you must go".

Remembering the Missionaries of Charity's times, I wish to remember the loving eyes of sr. Nirmala MC, my first day in Calcutta's -"Oh here is our vacation', come and sit with me, my child". I remember the shining hearts of the poor in Kalighat in Calcutta, the devoted MC brothers of the leprosarium in Tittagarh, the joyful Roma children of Ostrava, the sad slams' children from the Sunday school in Shopenice, the smiles of dying in the AIDS' hospital in Katowice, the eyes of little angels in the intensive care of the newly born returning to the heavenly father in Chechen. I remember our own children in the MC' children's house in Moscow. Here is Anya with down syndrome, she gets angry with a sister, and throws- Sister! go....ppppray!

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