A brave and shocking account of life within the enclosure.
On 31 August 2008, Sister Jesme left the Congregation of Mother of Carmel. The authorities’ repeated attempts to have her declared insane, she says, left her no other option. This book, a first of its kind in India, is an outpouring of her experiences as a nun for thirty-three years.
Spirited and fun-loving, from a good family, deeply rooted in Catholicism, Jesme was drawn to religious life at seventeen after a Retreat at junior college. As a nun, seven years later, she felt distressed at the many ills growing inside the convent and being forced to remain silent about them. There was corruption, by way of donations for college seats; sexual relations between some priests and nuns, and between nuns; class distinctions whereby the cheduthies, or poorer and less-educated sisters, did menial jobs; and a wide gap between comforts and facilities enjoyed by the priests and nuns.
Jesme was permitted to complete her doctorate in English literature, to pursue her passion for literature, cinema and teaching college students. She exposed them to classic films, believing that aesthetics enhances spirituality. But — these joys were clouded by the troubles she faced.
Searing, sincere and sensitive, Amen is a plea for a reformation of the Church and comes at a time of its growing concern about nuns and priests. It affirms Jesme’s unbroken spirit and faith in Jesus and the Church, living like a nun, but outside the Four Walls of the convent.