Italian convent ‘forced nuns to self-flagellate and write vows in blood’ former nun claims
A former nun has claimed that she and others at a convent in southern Italy were forced to flagellate themselves, eat out-of-date food and write their vows in blood as part of brutal rituals employed at the institution.
The unnamed nun, now in her 30s, made the allegations in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, claiming the events took place at a Franciscan ‘Sisters of the Immaculate’ convent in the 1990s, the Local reports.
The newspaper first printed allegations relating to the convent and others in the order in November last year, which are being investigated by the Vatican.
The General Minister of the Franciscan Order, Father Stefano Maria Manelli, has denied all the allegations.
The nun has since provided the newspaper with a postcard which she claims shows her vows written in her blood.
The postcard has an image of the Virgin Mary on the front, and words in what appears to be a dark brown substance on the back. The nuns were allegedly supposed to destroy the postcards, but the nun says she made two and kept them.
“We pierced our skin with needles before writing on the card and we were happy to do it,” the nun alleged.
“We were told it made our union with God stronger and more authentic,” she told the newspaper, claiming she had been 17 at the time her postcard was written.
She also alleged the nuns “flagellated ourselves in the evening during the time it took to say these prayers: five Our Father, five Ave Maria and five Salve Regina,” in addition to eating out of date food such as yoghurt and corned beef.
“We were told that if we ate food with obedience nothing would have happened […] but that’s not true because I had many stomach aches and abdomen pains,” she added.
The newspaper also claims to have been contacted by former members of the convent who alleged the use of beatings, eating out of date food, flagellations and other practices such as branding with fire and extreme penances using whips and nails, the Daily Mail reports.
The Vatican has compiled a dossier reportedly containing testimonies from current and ex-members of the order that contain the allegations of the brutal practices since they were first reported by the Italian newspaper in November. The dossier has been handed to investigators.