Nicaraguan lawyer: 65 women religious have been expelled from the country since 2022

Missionaries of Charity Missionaries of Charity leave Nicaragua on July 6, 2022. | Credit: P. Sunil Kumar Adugula

Researcher and lawyer Martha Patricia Molina, a member of the editorial board of the newspaper La Prensa, reported that the dictatorship led by President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua has expelled 65 nuns from the country between 2022 and 2023, a period of a year and a half.

“From 2022 through 2023, 65 women religious have been expelled and six women from different religious congregations have been prohibited from entering, for a total of 71,” Molina wrote on Facebook July 29.

The lawyer is also the author of the report “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?”, which documents the more than 500 attacks against the Church in the country since 2018.

According to Molina, a total of 10 religious congregations in the country have been affected, including Dominicans of the Annunciation, Missionaries of Charity, Trappist nuns, Women Religious of the Cross of the Sacred Heart, and Sisters of the Fraternity of the Poor Ones of Jesus Christ of Nicaragua.

“For safety reasons I will not mention the rest of the congregations [five] because we already know that the dictatorship is capable of anything. The nuns have been expelled for the most part with psychological violence,” Molina lamented on social media.

Molina noted that four priests from different dioceses and several women religious have pointed out to her that the number of 71 nuns who are victims of repression is higher than that recorded in her study “Nicaragua: A Persecuted Church?” where only 32 expelled nuns are mentioned.

“They tell me that it is difficult at this time to find a congregation with foreign sisters because they have all been expelled,” she said.

The lawyer added that her sources in the country said “the Nicaraguan nuns who have wanted to return to the country, to take the place of the foreigners who were expelled, have been denied entry.”

“We have not learned the exact number because most of the congregations have decided to remain silent and offer that martyrdom for the conversion of the dictators of Nicaragua and those who work for them,” she concluded.

The latest repressive act of the state against a congregation of nuns occurred at the beginning of July, when the Nicaraguan dictatorship canceled the legal personality and confiscated the assets of the Sisters of the Fraternity of the Poor Ones of Jesus Christ, whose convent the police entered to expel them.

This attack occurred a year after the expulsion of a group of Missionaries of Charity, the congregation founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who were later taken in by the Diocese of Tilarán-Liberia, in Costa Rica.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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