Sr Jesme's 'Autobiography of a nun' goes international

Published 23 October 2009  |  
The controversial 'Amen: the Autobiography of a nun' has just gone global after the famous Frankfurt Book Fair.

The author of the book, Sr Jesme, was a special invitee at the world's largest book fair held annually in mid-October at the Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany.

At the event, participated by more than 100 countries, excerpts from Jesme's startling memoir was read to a large audience mostly comprised of French and German people.

Although many praised her as a courageous and faithful woman, the 52-year-old nun was hit with several questions, one from an Indian priest who queried why she stood against the rules of a convent. To this she retorted saying she was only against the "interpretation of the rules that go opposed to the spirit of Bible and Jesus Christ."

Publisher Ravi Deecee of DC Books who facilitated her travel, earlier said there was a strong possibility of selling the French and German rights of 'Amen'. "Personal histories do well in Europe," he says.

Being her first international trip, Sr Jesme said she wanted to "convey the message that the entire Catholic Church, especially in Kerala, must be brought back to the spirit of the Bible and Jesus Christ."

She adds that Pope Benedict-XVI was doing the same. "He has been apologising for the numerous sins committed by the religious, like the sexual abuse of boys," she was quoted saying.

Interestingly, her book is now a best seller with tenth print underway within eight months of its release. Adding to the English and Hindi version, a Marathi edition is soon to hit the shelves.

Born in Trichur as Meamy Raphael, Sr. Jesme joined a convent and became a nun at a young age. Jesme's autobiography after 33 years of nunhood has apparently taken the Catholic Church by storm.

The nun, who served as the principal of St Mary's College in Thrissur, quit her job after her harrowing experiences in the convent. In her 180-page Malayalam book, she talks about the sexual harassment and mental torture she faced at the hands of both priests and nuns.

Claiming she still lives as a "nun" and have no plans to get married, Jesse asserts her book would "throw light on the misunderstood convent life, engulfed in darkness."

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