Kerala nun Lucy Kalappura, who was expelled from her congregation for having a “lifestyle in violation of the proper law” months after she took part in protests against rape-accused bishop Franco Mulakkal, on Saturday said she has filed an appeal before the Vatican, PTI reported.

In her dismissal letter, the Franciscan Clarist Congregation said Kalappura had been unable to give a “satisfactory explanation” for buying a car, taking a loan for it, getting a driver’s licence and publishing poems. The congregation comes under the Roman Catholic Church. Kalappura had denied any fault on her part and said: “I will not move out from the convent and I will fight against this [dismissal] legally.”

“I have filed an appeal. An email was sent to Vatican yesterday [Friday],” the nun told reporters in Kochi on Saturday. “I have also sent via post today to Vatican as well as their representatives in New Delhi.” She added that the congregation sent her mother a letter on August 10 asking her to take the nun back home.

In the letter, she was told she should leave the convent within 10 days from the day she received the communication if she failed to make “recourse against the decree”. The nun said the congregation could not ask her to leave as she has appealed the decision.

The expulsion letter, issued by Superior General of the congregation Ann Joseph on August 5, said the nun was given canonical warnings but she did not show the “needed remorse”. The decision to dismiss her, described as unanimous, was taken at a general council meeting of the congregation on May 11, and was approved by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Vatican.

The nun had attended the protests against Mulakkal in September 2018. She has received multiple warnings in the past from the congregation against her lifestyle choices and for going against the Church’s stand on the Mulakkal case. One of the earlier notices had said that Kalappura had participated in TV programmes, published books and wrote articles even though permission from superiors is required for such activities. The nun had appeared before the Mother General of the congregation in Ernakulam district’s Aluva to explain her stand on March 12.

Rape case against Franco Mulakkal

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was accused by a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kottayam. The Kerala Police filed charges against Mulakkal in July 2018, and he was arrested in September 2018. In October, he was released after the Kerala High Court granted him conditional bail and he returned to Jalandhar. Mulakkal has denied the charges.

An internal investigation by the Missionaries of Jesus in September found Mulakkal to be innocent. The organisation also attempted to malign the complainant repeatedly, once alleging that she was in a relationship with a taxi driver.