24-year-old nun was taken to a back room and raped
In 1995, Sister Lucy Vertrusc – a young Catholic nun – became pregnant after she was raped by soldiers during the war in former Yugoslavia.
After coming to terms with her condition, Sister Lucy sat down and penned an extraordinary letter to her Mother Superior.
And Mother Superior, so moved by Sister Lucy’swords, insisted that her words be shared in an Italian newspaper.
The powerful letter begins: “I am Lucy, one of the young nuns raped by the Serbian soldiers.
“I am writing to you, Mother, after what happened to my sisters Tatiana, Sandria, and me.
“Allow me not to go into the details of the act. There are some experiences in life so atrocious that you cannot tell them to anyone but God, in whose service I had consecrated my life nearly a year ago.
“My drama is not so much the humiliation that I suffered as a woman, not the incurable offence committed against my vocation as a religious, but the difficulty of having to incorporate into my faith an event that certainly forms part of the mysterious will of Him whom I have always considered my Divine Spouse.”
She continued: “Someone grabbed me one night, a night I wish never to remember, tore me off from myself, and tried to make me his own…
“It was already daytime when I awoke and my first thought was the agony of Christ in the Garden. Inside of me a terrible battle unleashed. I asked myself why God had permitted me to be rent, destroyed precisely in what had been the meaning of my life, but also I asked to what new vocation He was calling me.
“I strained to get up, and helped by Sister Josefina, I managed to straighten myself out. Then the sound of the bell of the Augustinian convent, which was right next to ours, reached my ears. It was time for nine o’clock matins.”
Sister Lucy explained that she went to say her prayers, as normal, and found herself struck by the image of Jesus sacrificing himself to save mankind from their own sins.
She explained: “In these last months I have been crying a sea of tears for my two brothers who were assassinated by the same aggressors who go around terrorising our towns, and I was thinking that it was not possible for me to suffer anything worse, so far from my imagination had been what was about to take place.
“Every day hundreds of hungering creatures used to knock at the doors of our convent, shivering from the cold, with despair in their eyes. Some weeks ago, a young boy about eighteen years old said to me: ‘How lucky you are to have chosen a refuge where no evil can reach you.’
“The boy carried in his hands a rosary of praises for the Prophet. Then he added: ‘You will never know what it means to be dishonoured.’
“I pondered his words at length and convinced myself that there had been a hidden element to the sufferings of my people that had escaped me as I was almost ashamed to be so excluded. Now I am one of them, one of the many unknown women of my people, whose bodies have been devastated and hearts seared.
“The Lord had admitted me into his mystery of shame.”
The young nun finished: “Everything has passed, Mother, but everything begins. In your telephone call, after your words of encouragement, for which I am grateful with all my life, you posed me a very direct question: ‘What will you do with the life that has been forced into your womb?’
“I had already decided. I will be a mother. The child will be mine and no one else’s.
“I know that I could entrust him to other people, but he – though I neither asked for him nor expected him – he has a right to my love as his mother. A plant should never be torn from its roots.”
Sister Lucy added: “I will go with my child. I do not know where, but God, who broke all of a sudden my greatest joy, will indicate the path I must tread in order to do His will.
I will be poor again, I will return to the old aprons and the wooden shoes that the women in the country use for working, and I will accompany my mother into the forest to collect the resin from the slits in the trees.
“Someone has to begin to break the chain of hatred that has always destroyed our countries. And so, I will teach my child only one thing: love.
“This child, born of violence, will be a witness along with me that the only greatness that gives honour to a human being is forgiveness.”
Content originally found on Roman Catholic Vocations