Bishops Issue Warning on ‘Fake Nun’
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has warned churches that a woman who claims to be a Holy Cross Sister is not what she appears to be.
The warning, issued in a memorandum signed by Archbishop Stephen Brislin, president of the SACBC, came after several months of investigation by the bishops’ conference into Elizabeth Nicholas, a Nigerian who holds a Ghanaian passport.
The investigation followed complaints that Ms Nicholas had raised funds from parishes around the country, under the guise of being a Holy Cross Sister.
Reportedly, Ms Nicholas was able to present a work permit issued by the Holy Cross Sisters in Cape Town.
However, according to the SACBC memorandum, the Holy Cross Sisters in Cape Town “know nothing about her being in the country under their jurisdiction”.
A Student at St John Vianney?
Ms Nicholas was also a student at St John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria, but, the memorandum states, “without proper documentation”.
“Ms Nicholas presents herself as a religious Sister. There are great doubts that she is a bona fide Sister and she is not connected to any religious order or diocese of the SACBC,” the memorandum said.
“She is travelling throughout the region presenting herself as a religious, and sets up stalls at every big event selling rosaries and other holy articles in different dioceses where she has been seen,” the SACBC memo said.
“We are concerned this could lead to an abuse of the situation.”
SACBC associate secretary-general Fr Patrick Rakeketsi confirmed the content of the memorandum as accurate, saying it was sent out to warn priests and bishops about Ms Nicholas.