A Catholic nun was found dead in a well at her convent compound at Vagamon in Kerala’s Idukki district on Tuesday morning.
The police said initial probe indicated that Liza Maria, 42, of Sacred Heart Convent, committed suicide. A case of unnatural death was registered.
Quoting the convent authorities, the police said the nun, a teacher at a Church-run school, had gone to bed on Monday night at 10 pm. As she did not turn up for prayer at the convent chapel in the morning, other inmates found the nun missing from her room and the door of the kitchen ajar. They noticed the nun’s slippers in the compound leading them to search in the well. The body was later fished out from the well in the presence of the police and revenue officials.
The police said the nun had been under medication for back pain and had been depressed for last few months. She had moved to the convent at Vagamon two months back.
The police also said her family hasn’t so far raised any suspicion about the involvement of any external elements in the nun’s death. The family members too had indicated that the nun had been gloomy in the recent months.
Kerala nuns unhappy: Church study
A Catholic Church study held in 2009 had found that 25 per cent of nuns in Kerala were not happy with their way of life. Many are disillusioned and battling unfulfilled desires and bitterness in life, says the study, conducted by Fr Joy Kalliyath, then a researcher at Nagpur University.
The study was conducted against the backdrop of reports that 14 nuns had committed suicide in Kerala from 2000 to 2009.
Besides, incidents of nuns eloping with priests or laymen have been on the rise.
The study says many nuns think seriously about the path they have chosen only after becoming a nun. Suicides and elopement are symptoms of the crisis that has engulfed the religious congregations. Some nuns are also choosing to go out of the convent and live alone, it adds.
Besides, consumerist mentality is also playing havoc with religious life. The glamour of luxury is affecting convents and monasteries very badly. It can slowly kill religious life, the study said.