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Rebellious Nuns Evicted in Poland

Rebellious Ex-Nuns Evicted in Poland

KAZIMIERZ DOLNY, Poland (AP) — Court officials backed by 150 police pushed their way into a convent in eastern Poland on Wednesday to evict about 65 rebellious ex-nuns and a monk who have occupied the complex illegally for two years.

The women had taken over the building in a rebellion against the Vatican, which had ordered the replacement of their mother superior, Jadwiga Ligocka.

"They were disobedient," said Mieczyslaw Puzewicz, a spokesman for the Lublin diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. "They didn't recognize the authority of the mother superior."

After a locksmith forced open the gate to the walled convent in the eastern Polish town of Kazimierz Dolny, police in riot gear pushed forward, encountering an onslaught of verbal aggression from some of the ex-nuns from the Sisters of Bethany order, police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said.

"They were swearing at policemen," Sokolowski told The Associated Press from outside the complex. Others, however, were cooperating with police who were trying to remove them, he said.

Police also found a woman with an 8-month-old baby whom they took to a hospital. Sokolowski said the mother of the child appeared to be a relative of one of the holed-up ex-nuns.

Reporters at the site were not allowed into the convent, but TVN25 ran video taken by police that showed them negotiating with nuns in black habits, trying to convince them to leave the nunnery.

The church has refused to give many details about the rebellion two years ago, but Polish news media have reported that Mother Jadwiga was a charismatic figure who had had religious visions, and was attempting to transform the convent into a contemplative order.

The Lublin diocese hinted at that in a statement on its Web site, which says that "Mother Jadwiga's private revelations and the fact that she made it a guideline to stick by them caused unease to the Congregation."

Puzewicz, who was at the convent site, said the ex-nuns were reacting to the eviction attempt with verbal aggression and by chanting religious songs, and said that they were acting "as if they are being manipulated." He did not say who he thought was manipulating them.

In 2006, the Vatican formally expelled the nuns from the Bethany order, but the women refused to leave the building, cutting themselves off from the outside world. A former Franciscan friar lived with them.

The church eventually sought legal action to remove them, and a court in nearby Pulawy ordered the eviction — a step they had previously resisted. The convent's electricity was cut off earlier this year, but local residents sympathized with the ex-nuns' plight and secretly funneled them food in the night.

Re: Rebellious Nuns Evicted in Poland

Riot police storm rebellious Polish convent

A rebellion that pitted an order of Polish nuns against the might of the Vatican has ended after police forced their way into their convent, evicting 64 people and arresting two.

With a battery of television cameras rolling, about 150 officers, many in full riot gear, moved against the Sisters of Bethany after they refused to comply with a court order requiring them to leave their convent in the small town of Kazimierz Dolny, south-east of Warsaw.

The eviction ended a revolt that dated back to 2005 when the Vatican sacked the then mother superior, Jadwiga Ligocka, after she claimed that she had had "private inspiration by the Holy Spirit".

Attempts to replace her triggered the confrontation.

Loyal to their spiritual leader, the Bethany sisters locked the doors of the convent, cut themselves off from the world and failed to follow the Church's orders.

The rebels refused to comply with the Vatican's demands even when 10 of them were defrocked and the diocese banned the administration of the sacrament in the convent.

Faced with ex-communication, they adopted a siege mentality, hired security guards, changed the locks on the gates and shunned all contact with the outside world.

Cut off from the Church and without electricity, the women had to rely on food parcels brought by well-wishers and family members.

Officers used a ladder to scale the convent walls after the women had refused to unlock the gates.

While some of the black-habited rebels sang religious songs and played guitars, other hurled abuse and swore, according to a police spokesman.

The former mother superior and a renegade monk, Roman Komarczyko, whom police described as "very aggressive", were arrested.

Speaking on behalf of the Polish Church, Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, admitted that the affair had damaged the Church but added that it had been left with no choice but eviction.

"It was the last resort that nobody wanted," he said, "but we had to do it."

Re: Rebellious Nuns Evicted in Poland

This one has been running and running, with TV news footage of nuns with German Shepherds shouting over the fence at TV cameras and very nutty looking people haranguing the police about how Sister Jadwiga is a living saint.

Wonder what they'll do now they've been evicted?

Here's a their website: http://www.betanki.pl/S_BET12.HTM

and here's the real estate in question:
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