Ex-nun sues convent for £0.5m back pay
A FORMER nun is suing her old convent in Italy for £500,000 back pay for running two kindergarten and a private clinic. The case, involving both Italian civil and canon law, is believed to be unprecedented in the strongly Catholic country.The former nun, now aged 60, identified in reports as Sister Maria left the convent of the Sacred Heart in l'Aquila, north-east of Rome, in 1991, tired and embittered after 35 years' service to God.
She claims that her decision to leave was based on the advice of her doctor and spiritual adviser, who were concerned at her growing bouts of fatigue and bickering with the other nuns and her superiors. After renouncing her vows, the former Sister Maria asked the convent for a form of ``liquidation.''
But when she was offered only a ``symbolic,'' peppercorn amount, she took her case to the local magistrate's court.
The former nun claims a lump sum of £518,000 as remuneration for her services, including the sum total of state pension contributions over the years which she maintains are also her due.
She claims that soon after she arrived at the convent she received a diploma qualifying her to teach children. It was for this reason, she says, that her Mother Superior entrusted her with the demanding job of opening and running two kindergartens.
Later, she went to the University of Pisa, where she took a diploma as a herbalist. That enabled her to run a private clinic in l'Aquila specialising in the cure of liver complaints.
The clinic, which was popular with VIPs, was owned by the convent until it decided to close it down several years later.
Legal counsel for the former nun said yesterday they were offering the convent a chance to reach an out-of-court settlement equivalent to nearly £1,500 a month for life. ( Daily Telegraph, London)