Discipline of Sister Who Led Community Co-Founded by Father Rupnik Raises Questions

Sister Ivanka Hosta was quietly removed in June from the governance of the community, banned from contacting current or former sisters for three years, and ordered to make monthly pilgrimages to pray for Father Rupnik’s victims.

Father Marko Rupnik
Father Marko Rupnik (photo: Screen shot / via ACI Prensa)

A religious sister who co-founded a community with the ex-Jesuit and accused abuser Father Marko Rupnik three decades ago was quietly removed in June from the governance of the community, banned from contacting current or former sisters for three years, and ordered to make monthly pilgrimages to pray for Father Rupnik’s victims.

Sister Ivanka Hosta, the superior general of the Loyola Community since 1994, is staying in a monastery in Braga, in northern Portugal, following the conclusion of an investigation into her leadership of the religious community by the Diocese of Rome, according to the Portuguese religious news outlet Sete Margens.

Sister Ivanka founded the community of women religious together with Father Rupnik in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in the early 1990s, though the two dramatically split ways in 1993.

According to a June 21 decree sent by Roman Jesuit Auxiliary Bishop Daniele Libanori to Sister Ivanka, and obtained by Sete Margens, Sister Ivanka was prohibited from holding any position or function of government or from carrying out any spiritual direction in the community.

Bishop Libanori issued a “formal reprimand” against Sister Ivanka for “exercising a style of government detrimental to the dignity and rights of each of the religious who make up the community,” Sete Margens reported Sept. 24.

The former religious superior was also ordered not to have any contact with current or past members of the Loyola Community for three years and, as an “external penance,” to make a monthly pilgrimage for one year to a Marian shrine to pray “for the victims of Father Marko Ivan Rupnik’s behavior and for all the religious of the Loyola Community,” whom she is accused of harming.

In a cropped excerpt of the decree, shared by Sete Margens, Bishop Libanori says that in his investigation of the Loyola Community, he discovered “anomalies” in the government of the institute.

A source inside the community confirmed to CNA the existence of the decree. The source also questioned whether the decree is being fully implemented, given the possibility that Sister Ivanka could have appealed the measures to the Vatican.

The unusual disciplinary measures leveled against Sister Ivanka raise questions about the conclusions of the investigation of the Loyola Community by the Diocese of Rome, including why Sister Ivanka would be ordered to do penance for Father Rupnik’s victims, and stand in stark contrast to a recent statement from the Diocese of Rome exonerating Father Rupnik’s art center.

Bishop Libanori first uncovered allegations of Father Rupnik’s sexual and spiritual abuse of religious sisters in 2019, when he was sent to investigate the Loyola Community in Slovenia amid complaints about Sister Ivanka.

The Rome auxiliary bishop said in a letter he sent to Italian priests in December 2022, obtained by The Associated Press, that the claims were true.

Father Rupnik, formerly a friend and collaborator of Sister Ivanka, acted as the Loyola Community’s chaplain until he broke from the religious community in September 1993.

Several sisters left the community with Father Rupnik, following him to Rome, where he subsequently opened his art and theology school, the Aletti Center.

While Bishop Libanori’s investigation of the Loyola Community appears to have found serious problems meriting strict disciplinary measures against its now-former religious superior, a recent canonical investigation by the Diocese of Rome into Rupnik’s Aletti Center found it to have “a healthy community life … that is free of particular serious issues.”

Father Rupnik, who was removed from the Jesuits in June after having been accused of spiritual, psychological and sexual abuse spanning more than three decades, lived at and served as the director of the Aletti Center from 1995 to 2020.

The priest-artist has been accused of engaging in sex acts with consecrated women at the center.

In an open letter published Sept. 19, former members of the Loyola Community said they were “left speechless” by the diocese’s concluding report on its canonical investigation of the Aletti Center.

“All [victims] have received and continue to receive is silence,” the letter says. “The victims of Ivanka Hosta’s abuse of power (who for 30 years covered up Rupnik’s nefarious deeds, and spiritually enslaved those who opposed his designs of revenge) especially have been waiting for a definitive, clear, maternal answer for more than a year.”