Saturday 24 June 2017

'Sister Internet' defrocked for Facebook habit

Fiona Govan in Madrid

A Spanish nun has been kicked out of the religious order where she lived the last 35 years in seclusion after spending too much time on the social networking site Facebook.

Maria Jesus Galan, nicknamed "Sister Internet" by her fellow nuns, announced on her Facebook page that she had been asked to leave the convent after disagreements over her online activities.

The 54 year-old, who lists her hobbies as "reading, music, art, and making friends" had almost 600 Facebook "friends" and now has fan pages with thousands of supporters calling for her to be allowed back into the order.

A computer was first brought on to the premises of the 14th century Santo Domingo el Real convent in Toledo, central Spain, 10 years ago after the mother superior was persuaded that it would lessen the need for nuns to enter the outside world.

"It enabled us do things such as banking online and saved us having to make trips into the city," explained Sister María, who entered at the age of 21.

However, the nun quickly saw the possibilities and soon began digitising the archives contained within the convent's ancient walls and making them accessible to the world. In 2008, she won a local government prize for her painstaking work. The award made headlines and she soon had scores of friends through her Facebook page.

Despite saying that her dedication to her vocation was as strong as ever she said that she was driven from the convent by other nuns who disapproved of her cyber activity and "made life impossible".



Problems

The Dominican order has refused to comment on her departure and the Archbishop of Toledo said it was "an internal matter". Sister María, who is now living at her mother's house, said she was ready to embark on a new chapter in her life. "I would like to visit London and New York," she posted on her page.

It is not the first time that the internet has caused problems for religious authorities in Toledo.

Last year, a parish priest was removed after it emerged that he had used the internet to advertise himself as a male prostitute. Samuel Martin Martin (27) posted images of himself wearing only grey underpants. It also emerged that he had spent €17,000 of church money to fund his addiction to internet sex and pornography. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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