Vagamon: The body of a middle-aged nun was found in a convent well in Kerala, southern India, on Tuesday morning. Church authorities suspect it to be a case of suicide.
“It seems to be a suicide case. But we are waiting for the post mortem report,” Fr Sebastian Kollenkunnel, spokesperson of Kanjirapally diocese, told Matters India.
The 42-year-old nun’s body was sent for autopsy at the Kottayam Medical College, some 50 km southwest of the convent in Uluppooni where she was at the time of her death. The parish is close to Vagamon, a tourist resort in Idukki district.
Father Kollenkunnel said Sister Liza Maria was a member of the Kanjirapally province of the Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (SABS), a 107-year-old congregation founded in Kerala, southern India.
The priest said the nun came there a few days ago for treatment for depression.
Sister Ancy, a provincial councilor, told Matters India that Sister Maria was quiet and never shared her problems with others. She, who was teaching in a school in close by Pullikkanam, was taken for counseling two months ago after teachers and other nuns found her gloomy and aloof.
Another priest, who did not want to be named, said Sr Liza’s family members do not suspected foul play in the death as they knew about her illness and treatment.
Her family is in Upputhara, another parish under Kanjirapally diocese. Her family now wants the funeral to be conducted in their parish, the priest said
According to the Deepika, a Malayalam newspaper, the nuns at Ulupponi looked for her after she failed to turn up for morning prayers. They found her door locked from outside and later saw her footwear near the convent well.
Sr Liza is the second nun in Kerala whose body was found in a convent well. In 1992, Sister Abhaya was found dead in a well at St. Pius X Convent in Kottayam. Initially, the police concluded the death of the 19-year-old member of St. Joseph’s Congregation as a suicide. A probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation found it to be a murder.
In 2008, the federal probe agency arrested two priests and a nun in connection with the case.
The SABS congregation was founded Archbishop Thomas Kurialacherry of Changanacherry to promote devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. It became a pontifical congregation in 1968.
The congregation now has 17 provinces with more than 4,300 members, who serve 87 dioceses in 10 countries.