For the past decade, the monastery and its cloistered community – described as representing an important slice of Ravello’s history – has been home to only three nuns. Photograph: Emiliano Amato/Quotidiano Costiera
Two nuns told they ‘disobeyed the church’ by trying to stay at seven-centuries-old site in Ravello
The Vatican has expelled two cloistered sisters from the nunhood after the pair disobeyed a request to leave a seven-centuries-old monastery along Italy’s Amalfi coast.
Known in the clifftop town of Ravello as “the rebel nuns”, Massimiliana Panza and Angela Maria Punnackal left the Santa Chiara monastery on Saturday after receiving a letter signed by Pope Francis telling them they were being relieved of “the obligations of sacred ordination”.
For the past decade, the monastery and its cloistered community – described as representing an important slice of Ravello’s history – has been home to only three nuns: Panza, Punnackal and Maria Cristina Fiore, a 97-year-old sister who has lived there since 1955.
The three were asked to transfer to another monastery or convent after the Vatican conducted an inspection of its various properties and concluded that there were too few residents at Santa Chiara to warrant the community being maintained.
After a request to replenish the monastery with nuns was rejected, the sisters attempted to negotiate with the Vatican to keep it going. They were ultimately snubbed, with Panza and Punnackal being given their marching orders from the monastery and nunhood for resisting the requested transfer. Sister Fiore is permitted to stay, owing to poor health which has left her bedridden, while two other nuns have moved in to assist her.
In the letter from the Vatican, Panza and Punnackal were told they had “disobeyed the church”.
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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter