On April 16, a 42-year-old Christian nun was found dead in a well of a convent at Kureepuzha near Karunagappally town in Kollam district of Kerala, Malayalam news channels reported. The nun was identified as Sister Mable Joseph, was among more than 20 Catholic nuns who died in mysterious circumstances in Kerala in the past few decades.
Sister Joseph was a member of the Pious Workers of St. Joseph, an Italian congregation that manages Maria Agnes English Medium School in Kureepuzha. Kerala, where almost all of the unnatural deaths of nuns have occurred, is home to nearly 35,000 women religious, about a third of all Catholic sisters in India.
Following are some of the 10 cases of nuns who met with unnatural deaths reported by mattersindia.com -
1. Sacred Heart Sister Jyothis, 28, was found dead inside a convent well in the Thamarassery Diocese in northern Kerala in November 1998. Local police said she committed suicide. Her father rejected the suicide theory and said he believed she was killed.
2. Sister Paulsi, 35, of the indigenous Snehagiri (“mountain of love”) Missionary Sisters, was found dead May 25, 2000, at her convent in the Palai Diocese.
3. Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Anoopa Mary, 23, was found hanging in her room in St. Mary’s Convent in Kollam, Kerala, on Aug. 11, 2008. A suicide note in her pocket said she had been unhappy and told of a dispute with her superior.
4. Six months later, on February 11, 2009, Daughters of Mary Sister Josephine, 38, died in the congregation’s provincial house in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala’s State capital. Sister Josephine’s death led to protesting crowds alleging she had been harassed by the nuns.
5. Up the western coast, in Goa State, Handmaids of Christ Sr. Dipti Brahmane was found dead in the well of her convent in Raia village on July 26, 2010.
6. In the first of two unnatural deaths in 2011 in Kerala, Holy Spirit Sr. Mary Ancy, a 48-year-old teacher, was found dead on August 17, 2011, in a wastewater tank in Poonkulam, near Thiruvananthapuram. Her family rejected a suicide theory and demanded police investigate the death.
7. On October 10, 2011, Maria Roslin, 16, a novice of Our Lady of Mercy Convent in Aroor, was found hanging from a ceiling fan.
8. Sister Liza Maria, 42, a member of the Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, was found dead on December 1, 2015, in a convent well in Uluppooni near Vagamon, a tourist resort in Kerala’s Idukki district.
9. Sr. Susan Mathew, 54, a teacher and member of the Mount Tabor Convent under the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, was found dead on September 9, 2018. Her body, with deep cuts on her wrists, was floating inside the convent well at Pathanapuram in Kollam district. Police classified her case as an unnatural death.
10. In Karnataka, a neighbouring State of Kerala, Sr. Mary Sendra Vianney, 28, a member of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Convent, was found dead on Dec. 4, 2019. Her severed body was discovered on railroad tracks near Hubli town. Police were investigating possibilities of suicide or foul play.