The community of Dominicans of the Holy Spirit and a Canadian cardinal condemned for the dismissal of Mother Marie Ferréol

Justice has ruled: the Lorient civil court on Wednesday April 3 condemned the community of Dominicans of the Holy Spirit, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet and two apostolic visitors (investigators) from the Vatican for the dismissal of a nun, “without reason” according to her

The community of Dominicans of the Holy Spirit and a Canadian cardinal condemned for the dismissal of Mother Marie Ferréol

Justice has ruled: the Lorient civil court on Wednesday April 3 condemned the community of Dominicans of the Holy Spirit, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet and two apostolic visitors (investigators) from the Vatican for the dismissal of a nun, “without reason” according to her.

The union association of the community of Dominicans of the Holy Spirit will have to pay 33,622 euros to Mother Marie Ferréol, born Sabine Baudin de la Valette, as part of the duty of relief. The civil chamber also condemned this religious community to pay – in solidarity with the Canadian cardinal Marc Ouellet, and the apostolic visitors of the Vatican Jean-Charles Nault and Maylis Desjobert – to its former resident 182,400 euros for her material damage, and 10 000 euros, for his moral damage.

“It has not been demonstrated that the decree of exclaustration, signed by Cardinal Ouellet (…) would have received any papal approval,” specifies the court in its judgment, which Agence France-Presse was able to consult. Mother Marie Ferréol, 57, was sent away in October 2020 from her community in Berné, near Lorient, after a visit from Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet. An “exclaustration” without reason, imposed in the middle of the night, even though she had lived for thirty-four years within her community. She has since lived on active solidarity income (RSA) alone.

Denunciation of “serious abuses and acts”

During the trial, on October 4, 2023, the “manipulation of people, destructive and critical comments, recurring attacks on the truth, the spirit of quarrel, systematic criticism” were the only complaints made against the religious, recalled by the president of the first civil chamber, Armelle Picard. The magistrate was surprised not to have access to the Vatican indictment file. Me Bertrand Ollivier, lawyer for the two “apostolic visitors”, who came to investigate the community, replied that “there is no right of access to the file in canonical matters”.

The nun had lived without incident since 1987 in this community close to traditionalist Catholic movements. But from 2011 things got worse, when Mother Marie Ferréol denounced “serious abuses and facts”, pleaded her lawyer, Me Adeline Le Gouvello. In their judgment, the magistrates emphasize that no evidence was provided by the association to prove that the delisting had been carried out in compliance with its statutes. And add that Mother Marie Ferréol “was also not able to prepare morally and materially to have to immediately leave her community and her profession, in the space of a few hours, without ever returning there”.

“The damage suffered by the sister has been recognized as being material and moral, with an attack on her honor and her private life”, welcomed Me Le Gouvello in a press release: “For [mother] Marie Ferréol, this decision brings great relief. »

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was prefect of the dicastery for bishops at the Vatican at the material time, resigned from this high office in January, officially “due to the age limit”. He was accused of sexual assault in Quebec.