Danish mother superior in nun death probe

religionA Roman Catholic mother superior may be questioned by Danish police in connection with the death of an elderly nun almost 20 years ago. Mother Superior Theresa Brenninkmeijer, of Sostrup’s Cistercian Heart of Mary Convent, was tracked down by police in Peru on Wednesday, with the help of the Catholic authorities.

Officers are looking to speak with Brenninkmeijer about an elderly nun with dementia, who in 1993 after reportedly being left in a courtyard. Police Spokesman Frits Kjeldsen told Politiken, “We have tried to get into contact with her [Brenninkmeijer], but have not been able to do so yet. But there is the time difference to think about.”

According to Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark’s Bishop Czeslav Kozon first became aware of the alleged problems at the convent in 2000 and had previously suggested to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation that the Vatican should investigate. “I felt it was enough to say that the convent had been severely criticised,” Kozon reportedly said.

A further six people have also made independent complaints about the convent since 2001. Both Kozon and authorities in Rome, however, found no reason to remove Mother Theresa Brenninkmeijer.

The Cistercian sect was first founded in 1098 and came to Denmark in 1144, reforming in 1920 after disappearing during the reformation. The Order of Cistercians, known as the Trappists, is the most severe of the group’s religious divisions, following the Rule of St Benedict to the letter.