Nuns at an Italian convent were forced to write their vows in their own blood, self-flagellate every night, and eat spoiled food, a former member of the order is claiming.
“We pierced our skin with needles before writing on the card and we were happy to do it,” the unnamed nun told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera about her time in the 1990s at the “Sister of the Immaculate” convent.
The nun, who said she was 17 at the time, offered an old postcard with the Virgin Mary covered in a brownish-red substance she claims was blood. “We were told it made our union with God stronger and more authentic.”
The sisters at the Franciscan order were told to destroy the vow cards, but she disobeyed, she claimed.
“They told us to destroy the cards afterwards but I wrote two and kept one at my parents’ house,” she said.
The nun also claimed that her sisters were regularly fed rancid food, such as yogurt and canned meat.
“They told us if we ate it with obedience, nothing bad would happen to us, but it wasn’t true because I used to get serious stomach problems,” she said.
She added that sisters were encouraged to self-flagellate every night for as long as it took to say five Hail Marys, five Our Fathers and five Glory Be to the Fathers.
A Vatican-ordered probe is investigating the claims, but the order’s leader, the Rev. Stefano Maria Manelli, denied any wrongdoing.
Manelli, 82, created the order in 1982, and it has nine convents in Italy and six more across the globe, according to The Local.