Vatican expels two ‘rebel nuns’ for refusing to leave deserted monastery on Amalfi coast

The Vatican has dismissed two nuns from nunhood after they refused to leave the clifftop Santa Chiara monastery, deemed too expensive to maintain. Photo credit: Lucamato /

THE Vatican dismissed two nuns on Monday, February 6, after they refused to leave the Santa Chiara monastery in Ravello on the Italian Amalfi coast. The sisters nicknamed ‘the rebel nuns’ were relieved of their duties in a letter signed by Pope Francis.

Massimiliana Panza and Angela Maria Punnackal were expelled by the Vatican after they flouted a request from the church to leave the 13th century monastery. The women were the sole residents of Ravello’s clifftop monastery for the last decade along with a 97-year-old sister, Maria Cristina Fiore who has resided there since 1955.

The church previously asked the nuns to transfer to another convent or monastery after an inventory report found the Santa Chiara property too costly to maintain due to it having only three residents.

The nuns negotiated with the Vatican, asking for the monastery to receive more nuns saying the cloistered community is a crucial part of Catholic history and the town of Ravello, but the church has stood by its decision to expel the women from the nunhood.

Panza has returned to her family home in Naples where Punnackal, originally from India is also staying.