Amen: The Autobiography of a Nun, written by Sister Jesme of the Carmelite Convent has created repercussions in the religious and political scenario of Kerala as the murder of Sister Abhaya and the suicide of Sister Anupa Mary. Like these two incidents, the book offers flak against the strong belief of the laity in the institution of Catholic Church and in the theory of blind obedience as propagated by the church authorities.
Sister Jesme was born in 1956 in Thrissur and joined the Carmelite Congregation because of her intense desire to follow Christ. She chose the name Jesme because for her it meant Jesus and Me. She has a PhD in English Literature and has published three books of poetry. She has worked as the Principal of St. Mary's College.
In the book, she discloses how she was asked by the authorities to take long leave and undergo psychiatric treatment. Instead she leaves the congregation and her high post of a gazetted officer to live a life of a recluse. The author openly discusses several taboo topics in society like the low place given to women in a patriarchy, the greed of managements run by the Church, prevalent lesbianism and sexual perversions among the nuns, rivalries and advances made by priests towards nuns.
The word Amen is used to conclude prayers in Christianity and means so be it. As its cover page says, the life of a nun should be like that of a pure and untainted white lotus that stands at a higher plane than the muddy waters it lives in. Written with an openness, quite shocking and sensational in nature, the book portrays the daring nature of Sister Jesme, who left the Church to live a life of independence and peace. Like a white lotus. So be it.