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42-year-old nun found dead in a well, suicide note found: What we know so far

From 1987, bodies of about 20 nuns have been found in wells or nearby areas in various convents in Kerala.

A 42-year old nun was found dead in a well at a convent in Kureepuzha on Friday. The deceased identified as Mable Joseph was a native of Karunagappally in the Kollam district of Kerala. Joseph’s inmates recovered a suicide note from her bedroom after they went searching for her as she missed the morning prayer. The suicide note read, “I’m ending my life due to my health issues and allergies.” 

“Nobody is responsible for my death. Keep me in your prayers,” the note further read. The letter also mentioned that her body will be inside the well. After a subsequent search by the police, her body was recovered in the well as specified in the letter. According to reports Sr Mable reached this convent just a month ago.

Mysterious deaths of nuns in Kerala

From 1987, bodies of about 20 nuns have been found in wells or nearby areas in various convents in Kerala. In all these cases neither the convent authorities nor the Kerala Catholic Church lodged any complaint to conduct an investigation to find out the reason for the deaths. 

On February 15 this year, a 45-year old nun was found dead at Vazhakkala in Ernakulam. The nun’s body was found by the police in a pond near the quarry, situated close to the convent. The convent authorities insisted that Sr Juseena was depressed, however, her relatives denied the claim.

In May 2020, 21-year-old Divya P Johnny, who had joined a convent for studies to become a nun, was found dead in a well at her convent in Thiruvalla.

In September 2018, another nun from Pathanapuram was found dead in the well near her convent. The fifty-five-year-old Sr Susan Mathew was a teacher at St Stephen School, Pathanapuram.

Most deaths have been labelled as ‘natural deaths’ or a case of suicide.

The infamous case of Sr Abhaya still continues to be talked about in the nation. Sister Abhaya’s body was found in the well of the St Pius Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992.

Initially, the case was investigated by the local police and state crime branch, and was concluded stating that Sr Abhaya had committed suicide.

However, the case was taken over by the CBI on March 29, 1993, following a legal battle by human rights activist Jomon Puthenpurackal. 

According to the charge sheet filed, Sr Abhaya saw three inmates of the convent Fr Thomas Kottoor, Fr Jose Poothrikkayil and Sister Sephy in a compromising position after which the three accused hacked her to death with an axe and threw her into the well. The accused were arrested in 2008 and released on bail by the Kerala High Court a year later.

In December 2021, the CBI Special Court awarded life sentence to Fr Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy and imposed a fine for murder, destruction of evidence and trespassing. 

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