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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - A fifth nun is revealing how Jesuit serial abuser Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik sexually abused her after she fled an abusive religious order and sought refuge at his studio in Rome.
In an explosive interview with the French Catholic magazine La Vie, Sr. Hermana Samuelle recounted how Rupnik would invite her to discreet meetings after 10 p.m. at the Aletti Center and take her in his arms, caress her shoulders and neck and play with her bra behind her back.
"It's beautiful we can do this together, me as a priest, you as a sister. It is clear. I look at you in a very pure manner," the Jesuit mosaic artist would tell Sr. Samuelle, La Vie reported on Tuesday.
"I feel I have risen from death, standing, but still in the tomb, plunged into darkness," the nun said. "To speak today is to contribute to rolling the stone so I can come out, leave the silence and fear, find the light, and move towards life."
"I'm starting to put together the scattered pieces of a dissociated life. Today, I have the right to recover them so I can unify them and find the right place for every piece," the 47-year-old sister told reporter Sophie Lebrun.
Sister Samuelle, who has been living as a hermit for over nine years in the Aube countryside in France, explains how she was the victim of psychological violence as a sister who spent almost 20 years in the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem.
"I entered the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem because I wanted to follow Christ, to discover his face. This has always remained!" she said.
Samuelle, who is a skilled mosaic artist, joined the religious order at the age of 21, after obtaining her diploma in cabinet making. She joined the sisters in Paris and later went to Brussels in 2001 before returning to Rome in 2006.
However, during her time with the fraternity, she was falsely accused of being a lesbian and reproached without explanation by her superiors each time she spoke with a sister or attempted any form of friendship.
To avoid being constantly condemned, Samuelle withdrew from normal contact with the sisters in her community and isolated herself.
"One day, during a confession with founder Pierre-Marie Delfieux, he explained to me that I regularly fall in love with one or the other sister, that my difficulties come from that, and that it is up to me to fight against this tendency," Samuelle revealed.
"Except ... that I don't have this orientation! I am plagued by moments of total panic, on the lookout for the slightest suspicious look," she lamented. It was only 20 years later that the nun learned that her parents had told the prioress general their daughter might be a lesbian.
Fr. Delfieux died in 2013. But it wasn't until 2022 that the Vatican, after learning of the accusations against Delfieux, ordered a reform of the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem.
The psychological abuse resulted in Sr. Samuelle self-harming and burning her skin with a hot iron all over her body. One day, she climbed onto the windowsill of her fourth-floor cell in Brussels and escaped to go to Rome.
In 2010, Sr. Samuelle fled to the Aletti Center, cofounded by Rupnik, to pursue her vocation as an artist and was offered a four-year apprenticeship under the Jesuit mosaic artist. The nun narrated how the abuser "perceived my distress, saw my flaws and preyed upon them."
"I resisted for a while internally. After multiple pressures and blackmail at the risk of being thrown out, I submitted one day. I can say that with him, I really experienced a grip: He entered my mind; he took control, and I was his prisoner," Samuelle confided.
"He never crossed the limits leading to the genitals; he knew very well what he was doing," noted Sr. Samuelle, adding that Rupnik could repeat his sexual abuse, even in public, leaving her "paralyzed."
In the winter of 2014, the nun finally confronted the Jesuit at a Parisian site where the Aletti team was assembling a set of mosaics.
"I told him that he did not have a healthy relationship with me. He told me that I saw sex everywhere, that I was betraying him and that it was with a clear conscience that he was leaving to go and celebrate Mass, before he stormed out," Samuelle reported.
Sister Samuelle then reported Rupnik's abuse to the Society of Jesus. "They displayed a benevolent attention to my case. This means that today, my path of restoration is moving forward, as calmly as possible," she said. "Putting the events of my past in their rightful place gives me a firm footing on the path of resurrection."
Sister Samuelle is the first nun to reveal her name in a testimony to the press. Church Militant earlier reported the testimonies of four other religious sisters who testified using the pseudonyms Anna, Esther, Roberta and Klara but revealed aspects of their background.
Anna, who was forced by Rupnik into a threesome with another nun, wrote an open letter to the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa. In the email, she also copied concerned cardinals, bishops, provincials, superiors and laymen.
None of the 18 clerics (mostly Jesuits) or laity who were informed of the abuse responded to the June 2022 email or intervened to denounce the Slovenian serial abuser. Rupnik was allowed to continue his public ministry despite restrictions placed on him by the Jesuits.
Italian nun Anna describes how Rupnik used the figure of "wisdom" in the book of Proverbs to engage in "extreme erotic games" while "she was painting or after the celebration of the Eucharist or after confession."
In December, Esther, who worked for Vatican Radio testified how Mother Superior Ivanka Hosta, who cofounded the Loyola Community with Rupnik, had colluded with the Jesuit predator to cover up his sexual abuse of nuns.
Esther confirmed Anna's account of Rupnik's ménage à trois and narrated how many of the nuns suffered "serious physical and mental problems due to the psychological and spiritual violence they suffered" under Rupnik.
In January, Roberta, a student of art history, revealed how the Loyola Community served as a "hunting reserve for Rupnik."
"One day, while I was still a novice, he put his hands on my butt, commenting on its shape with pleasure," Roberta said.
"I remember one of his 'lessons' on the importance of the color white in women's underwear and his invitation to wear slightly transparent white blouses that revealed the bra as a sublime sign of purity and spiritual beauty," she added.
Klara said she met Rupnik when she was a 16-year-old nursing intern and confessed how the Jesuit later entrusted her to one of his sexual partners who would prepare her for sexual orgies involving a ménage à trois.
In 1986, a year before Klara joined the Loyola Community, Rupnik visited Klara in her sublet apartment. She states that Rupnik "invited me to enter the bathroom with him where he began to masturbate in front of me over the sink."
"Then he took my hand so that I continued [to masturbate him], while with the other [hand] he pushed my head down," Klara said, forcing her to have oral sex.
"You need it because you haven't received enough love and attention from your father," Rupnik told Klara, warning her not to tell anyone about the incident.
The diocese of Rome has opened an investigation into how members of the Aletti Center may have assisted in covering up Rupnik's predation of vulnerable women.
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