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'Bullied' nun banished from convent

A Dublin nun who has been ordered to leave her congregation, the Sisters of Jesus and Mary, has accused the sisters of her community of bullying.

Sr Josephine Costello, aged 64, made the accusations after she was served with the notice by Sr Rosemary Mangan, a senior member of the order who is based in Rome.

The congregation has provided her with a two-bedroom apartment and a small allowance but she is to have no more contact with the sisters in her convent.

Sr Mangan declined to elaborate on the reasons behind the act but said she had come from Rome to ensure that 'all parties would abide by the decree'.

'The decree was not issued at Sr Josephine's request but at the request of the general government of the congregation' she said. Sr Costello, who is a music teacher, said she was apprehensive about her future but hoped she continue private music tuition and get involved in church activities in her new parish.

Accusing her former colleagues in the convent of bullying, she said she was forced to eat and pray on her own and had her Christmas dinner alone in the corridor.

'The only time they spoke to me was to insult me. They would communicate with me with little notes left for me' she claimed.

'I used to think it was God's will, that it was my daily cross to bear and part of being obedient but then I realised it was an abuse of authority' she said.

The Universe

2 Sep 2002