Some French women have voiced out stories of sexual abuse experienced for years at St. John’s community founded at St. Jodard in the Loire region of France by Reverend Marie Dominique Philippe.
One of the victims, Lucie told CNN recently that she was 16 when she became involved with a Catholic religious community after attending a holiday camp in Switzerland and as at the time, was lonely and looking for affection.
She narrated that at first she found a community that was “really like a family,” but two years later, when preparing to become an “oblate,” a pattern of sexual abuse by a charismatic priest who she considered her spiritual father began.
Lucie said at first attempt her abuser tried to kiss her but she pushed him away but he was not dissuaded, “I didn’t feel I had any power in front of him, I couldn’t say really something. When I was trying, he always had arguments to tell me that I’m wrong and he’s right. How can I not believe him?
“He was taking off his clothes and I saw everything. It was the first time of my life, and I was really disgusted. But I realize that on the moment I didn’t feel anything. Because I was not there anymore, it was a protection, to not feel.
“It was like automatic, you know. He wanted to go to the end, to ejaculation and I was just like an object for him and I had a feeling he did this a lot of times.
“It was absolutely 100% impossible for me to see him like a predator.” She explained.
Lucie said her abuser had misused his authority as a priest and claims of “loving friendship” to justify his deeds.
While Liene Moreau, another abused victim narrated that her abuser was a priest in France and it lasted for 15 years, starting when she was a trainee nun in her 20s.
Moreau said the breach of trust and of faith were the hardest part to deal with, “The psychological abuse was worse than the sexual abuse; it’s my inner life, he took my dignity, my femininity, all that I was. And still today it is very hard to have confidence in myself.
“It lasted for 15 years, and it’s now been two years since I was able to put the word ‘abuse’ on this, and still today it’s very complicated to admit that I might be a victim.
“If only just for myself, I don’t want to be a victim. And yeah, I feel responsible because he made me responsible; he made me complicit in his acts.” Moreau said.
Giantability News gathered that several other victims have disclosed the devastating effect of sexual, psychological and spiritual abuse suffered within the Community of St. John and this problem is not just peculiar to one community as reports show that recently the media has reported abuse of nuns by male clergy in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
However, the Pope has summoned Bishops from around the world for a summit this week in Rome to discourse the crisis over clerical sexual abuse.