Obscured American: Lindy Morelli the Carmelite Nun

Linh Dinh – The Unz Review Nov 29, 2019

The Lighthouse 2017.

In 2017, Chuck Orloski’s 27-year marriage collapsed. Chased from his home and broke, he had to take refuge at Lighthouse, a Scranton group home run by a blind, 54-year-old nun, Lindy Morelli.
That Thanksgiving, I took a four-hour bus ride from Philly to stay five days with my friend, Chuck, at the Lighthouse. The rolling hills, clapboard houses and country lanes of Eastern Pennsylvania bespoke peace, solidity and down-home goodness, but the region was actually racked by disappearing jobs, lost dignity, hopelessness and drugs.
On previous trips, Chuck would drive me from the Greyhound station to his home, but this time, he didn’t even have a car, so we had to walk. The Lighthouse was just half a mile away, however, and it wasn’t too cold. I only had a backpack.
The two-story, signless house sat on a narrow residential lane, across from a small Greek Orthodox church, serving a mostly Lebanese congregation. Merely a block away was Main Street, with its handful of restaurants offering mediocre burgers and hot dogs, edible Chinese, decent Mexican, pizzas and Lebanese.
At Lighthouse, I met Steve, an Oklahoman who had the infuriating habit of throwing Chuck’s canned food away, for they were expired, he falsely claimed. I chatted with cheerful Lee Ann, a middle aged woman who attributed her recovery from kidney cancer to an oil-exuding icon at St. George Church. I listened to Lou, who came by often to help out Lindy. A former seminary student, he had never married and lived alone.
My room had been recently occupied by a thoughtful, quiet, middle-aged man who was also a pedophile, it turned out, for one day, cops showed up to handcuff the pervert and take his computer away.
Ministering to all sorts of troubled souls, Lindy doesn’t shun criminals and, in fact, has visited prisoners for decades.
In 1981, a 15-year-old, Joseph Aulisio, murdered two children, aged 8 and 4, just outside Scranton. After his conviction in court, a gum-chewing Aulisio shouted to his family, “It’s party time!” He then mocked the district attorney, “Ernie, are you going to hug me?” Condemned to death, Aulisio got his sentence reduced to life, and is now filing for release after the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life terms for juveniles are unconstitutional. Since the mid-90’s, Lindy has been visiting Aulisio in prison. If ever released, he’d be welcomed into the Lighthouse.
One evening after dinner, Lindy and I retreated to a parlor to conduct this interview. Going in, I already knew about Lindy’s preoccupation with Kevin Tower, a Michiganian convicted of double murder. The details of his case, I only found out later.
Online, there’s only one photo of Tower. It shows a clean shaven, boyish looking man with a flat-topped head, dirty blonde hair and thick neck. There’s “A Prisoner on the Ladder,” an 800-word screed Tower published, presumably with Lindy’s help, at the very obscure Wilkes-Barre Scranton Independent Gazette. Revealing no facts about his own case, Tower merely compares himself to Jesus:
There He was standing as the crowd yelled, “Crucify, crucify, crucify him!” The crowd consented and gave authority to the punishment. The beating and bloodshed began. Many looked on, at first amused. Then, the blood became apparent. Some left. Then the torn flesh became apparent. Many left. Only a few cold hearts likely remained. The guards were only doing their duties. They were immune. The prosecutor and court were not there. Maybe there was a soul or two who sat and absorbed the pain and cruelty they saw. Perhaps they were chased off.
The government’s case against Tower is laid out quite succinctly in a 2010 document:
This case arose out of the murders of defendant’s uncles, Ron and Paul Tower, aged fifty-seven and forty-one, respectively, in July 1995. The Tower brothers were single, lived together at a farmhouse in Remus, Michigan, and were mentally impaired to varying degrees. Ron Tower could not read, could write only his name, was not gainfully employed but performed chores around the farmhouse, was diabetic and depended on his brother for medication, and was extremely shy. Paul Tower could read and write, was employed as a custodian, maintained and administered his own bank accounts, and owned two vehicles, a truck and a 1992 red Ford Escort. The Tower brothers were last seen alive on the afternoon of July 5, 1995, with defendant, at their farmhouse. On July 6, 7, and 8, 1995, withdrawals were made from Paul Tower’s savings account in Big Rapids.
On July 9, 1995, Paul Tower’s red Escort was abandoned at an accident scene in Grand Rapids. A witness later identified defendant as the driver of that vehicle and as having fled the scene. On July 13, 1995, human blood and hair were found in various buildings at the Tower farmhouse. On that date, Mecosta County Sheriff’s Detective Richard Rau interviewed defendant, and on the following day Rau arrested defendant for uttering and publishing and unlawfully driving away Paul Tower’s Escort.
On July 26, 1995, partially decomposed bodies matching descriptions of Paul and Ron Tower were found in a remote area of Mecosta County. Both had been stabbed and shot with a .22 caliber weapon. Around August 15, 1995, defendant was additionally charged with two counts of murder, felony firearm, and forging signatures on savings withdrawal slips drawn on Paul Tower’s savings account on July 6, 7, and 8, 1995. Defendant was convicted as charged and his motion for new trial was denied.
A 1999 document fleshes out Tower’s history of financial deliquency, drug use and association with prostitutes. He killed his uncles, the state argues, to provide drugs to Heather Gallapoo, a 17-year-old whore:
Heather testified that she was sixteen when she met defendant in January 1995. That night they had sex, he paid her fifty dollars, told her he liked her, and she gave him her phone number. After that night she had sex with him about five times, but not for money. She testified that they had “kind of” a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship and she stopped or decreased her prostituting for a time. She testified that her parents liked defendant and were encouraging the relationship, that defendant wanted her to stop prostituting and get off drugs, and that he told her a lot of times that he loved her. He also told her several times that he wanted to marry her and talked about having children. Heather testified that she eventually wanted to get away from defendant, so she would leave home for Becky Cochran’s apartment. Heather then got reported as a runaway and the police picked her up at Becky’s apartment. After that defendant would buy her crack to try to keep her at home. Defendant would take her to buy crack and paid for it a lot of times. Heather testified that defendant was an easy person to get things from and would do whatever she asked.
[…]
The prosecution properly argued that there was evidence that defendant, a twenty-five-year-old, did not have girlfriends or male friends, did not bring women or male friends to gatherings, liked female companionship but had to pay for it, and that that evidence and his activities of finding Heather, driving her to buy drugs and sometimes waiting for her in his vehicle while she turned tricks, indicated that defendant was different than the person he purported to be.
Now 39, Heather Gallapoo still lives in Grand Rapids. Her FaceBook page has “NEVER FORGET WHO YOU ARE” superimposed on images of clouds, as seen from an airplane. The ex femme fatale reveals that she graduated from a community college in 2015, and has held jobs at Burger King and Yummy Work. A post, “Going broke happens. Staying broke is your FAULT.” Another, “the devil doesn’t come to you with his red face and horns, he comes to you disguised as everything you’ve ever wanted.”
Two weeks after this interview, the State of Michigan again rejected Tower’s appeal. Lusting after love, Tower killed and wrecked his own soul. We can only hope he won’t destroy another who’s also aching to be fully held. When it comes to sex, we’re all naked, befogged babes in a dark gulley. Love is legally blind.
In 2017, Lindy asked that I delayed the publication of this for a few months, at most, until Kevin was free. Two years later, he’s still locked up, and I wouldn’t bet the leaning, peeling farmhouse he’ll ever barge into that Lighthouse.
I have a twin sister. My mother was born into a very poor family. My sister and I were in Saint Joseph, and in the 60’s, that was a big thing, because when a woman was pregnant and couldn’t take care of her children, it was a scandal. So it was a tumultuous beginning for my mother.
We came home at 2 1/2. My parents didn’t get married until we came out of the orphanage. They were married for six years. My father is from Italy. He’s a wonderful man. I call him every day.
My sister and I were home for a couple of years, with my family, then I went away to school for the blind, Overbrook.
From the beginning of my life, I’ve always felt that, I don’t know, that life was really… empty, somehow. I guess I just felt that way. I had a deep experience, like when I was young, I guess it was a spiritual experience, I felt that God was real, and so when I went away to school, it was a very dark, stark place to be, but I felt that God was with me.
It was a very stark way to grow up, I felt, like interiorly, for myself, but I got a very good education, and I had a lot of blessings. The thing that meant the most to me was just what was going on inside my own soul, and how I could love, because I felt, like, love was the most important thing, and it was so absent. It felt like that to me, and it didn’t feel like there was enough love for other people either, so I thought that, for me, that was the most important thing.
By the time I was in high school, we had a regular life, as normal as we could. I lived at the school almost my whole life, and we came home, you know, once every couple months or something, but I actually felt like my family died, because I didn’t see them enough, and I wasn’t prepared for the shock of being away at school.
My mother is beautiful, generous and loving, but she had some problems, and she couldn’t be as present as she probably would have wanted to. After my parents divorced, my mother then married an alcoholic, so when I came home, it was, like, really tumultuous at home, and it was very, very empty and lonely at school.
I felt really at odds, I felt abandoned, and the thing that sort of helped me out was God, because I felt that, like, there just wasn’t anything for me to hang on to.
We went to this camp for the blind in the Summer. It was a wonderful, like, sort of magical place for us, because everything was normal, everything was made normal for the blind, like we could get around, because they had put railing around so you wouldn’t fall into the pool. Things like that.
The counselors who worked there were these young people who, you know, it was the early 70’s and 60’s, so they were people who were very conscious of peace and love, and how the world was troubled, and needed a different change, and the counselors had a big impact on my life.
I remember when I was at that camp, one of the counselors made me something out of wood. It was, like, a little letter opener. He said, “I know you like to write letters, so this is something I made you.” I treasured this little thing, and I carried it with me wherever I went.
I was so excited about it, that somebody would give me something, that I was important to someone, enough for them to do that, but I lost that little thing.
I dropped it on the sidewalk, and I was too shy to turn around and ask somebody to get it for me, so I lost it, and I thought, at the time, “How many more losses are there going to be?” Like, life was so full of loss.
By the time I was in high school, I started to write poetry, and my faith started to get a lot stronger. I just felt that Jesus was the center of everything, like everything in the universe, everything in my own life, everything in the world. Everything just centered around the life and death, and resurrection of Jesus, because I knew that there was nothing on this earth. Because life was so empty and so harsh, I just was convinced that Jesus was everything, and convinced that the Eucharist was everything, that Jesus was present in the Eucharist, because when I received Holy Communion when I was young, it just changed my life.
So when I went to college, I thought, “What can I do with my life? I don’t know.” I wasn’t, like, exuding confidence or anything. I really didn’t know what to do.
I went to a small Christian school. I remember I was really shy when I went out there, because we were brought up in a school for the blind, and they kept saying, “When you get out into the real world, it’s really going to be hard. You’re going to have to do this, and that,” and I thought, “Oh my gosh. What if I can’t?”
I was really nervous when I went to the cafeteria, and you had a tray of food, and you’d be, like, carrying the food, and you’d be walking. I’d be thinking, “Oh my gosh, where is the table? What if I fall? What if I drop the tray?” I was just nervous, I just didn’t have confidence, but somehow God just took care of me.
I managed to get a bachelor’s degree in theology, then I thought, “What am I going to do now?” All I really wanted to do was to love people. I really wanted to comfort people, that was what I thought, “That’s all I really want to do. I don’t know what else to do.”
Then I thought, “Maybe I’ll get a master’s in counseling,” not that I really wanted to be a clinical counselor, “Well, I know what it’s like to be in pain, and suffer and feel pain, so maybe if I do something, maybe I can help somebody else,” so then I got this master’s degree in counseling.
When I was in school, I thought, “I really love God. I really want to serve God,” so I think, “Maybe I can become a nun.” I kept thinking about it. It’s all I really wanted to do. I had my heart set on it, and I started to think, “That would be the best way that I could be happy, because I could serve God. I could love God. I could pray.”
I had a deep personal relationship with Jesus, and I thought, “Well, that’s usually what people do when they want to have that kind of life. They become nuns, and they give their lives to other people, they give their lives to God, and they’re happy that way,” so I thought, “Well, that’s what I’ll do, when I got out of school.”
I started to look around, and I wrote to, like, a hundred different communities. I got this directory of communities, all around the US or whatever, and they gave a little description of themselves. I thought, “If I can find one that loves the poor and wants to pray, maybe I can fit in there.” I wrote to all those ones, and they all wrote back, almost a hundred of them wrote back and said, “Nope, can’t accept you because you’re blind.”
I thought, “What in the world?!” Like, I just thought it was crazy at the time. I really didn’t understand it. Anyway, this was, like, 1989, and by then I already had my master’s degree.
So then the bishop here let me take vows, like a nun would take. I took a vow of poverty. I took a vow of celibate chastity, and obedience to the church, and the bishop and all that, and it was the actual vow that a nun took, and I was extremely happy, because I thought, “That’s really what I wanted to do.”
Eventually, I’ll find a community,” I thought to myself. I just didn’t realize that I wasn’t going to find a community. There just wasn’t going to be an opening for me.
So I spent, like, my adult life just drifting around, feeling very, very sad and empty because I didn’t have anybody to share it with. I didn’t have anybody to share this most important thing in my life with me, and people didn’t take it that serious either, because I wasn’t a nun, obviously, but I didn’t know I wasn’t a regular, just a person either.
I had a certain commitment, but nobody understood it, so I was kind of like betwixt and between these two different places, and I had to keep a lot of it largely to myself, because there really wasn’t anybody who really understood this deep passion that I had… for God, and for the poor.
I really didn’t know who to talk to about it. When I was 19, I thought I’d go to the prison, so I started going into all these different prisons, in the 90’s. Then I started to go visit people in nursing homes, then I started working in the housing projects. I just did everything you could think of, because I just felt in my heart that’s what I was supposed to do, but I kind of felt lost too.
I was still living my vows. I renewed them every year, but I was really, really lonely, but I thought, “There has got to be other people like that, who are lonely, like around, in the world.”
Then I started reading about Dorothy Day, and I started reading about Catherine Doherty, and I thought, “Well, maybe I can do something like that. Maybe we could get a house. It was just a pipe dream I had, but I thought, “I’m just going to see what happen,” so I started to make all these phone calls, to these different churches, and said, “I have this idea. I want to help the poor.” I had no idea how this ever happened, but they all started to think it was a good idea, and before I knew it, in a couple years, we had a board of directors. We had our non-profit. We had enough money to run a storefront.
Around the 80’s or whatever, I went to a place called Medjugorje. It’s a place where they had alleged Mary apparitions, and normally, I wouldn’t go to a place like that, because I’m not drawn to sensationalism, but one of my friends went there and said, “Lindy, that place is so life-changing. It is so powerful. Oh, my gosh,” and I was like, “What in the world? What could be powerful? I mean, he has a lot of faith. Why would he go all the way to Yugoslavia to see an apparition, or whatever?”
I started to get curious about it. I thought, “I’m going to see what that film is,” and it was so prayerful, and so real. I just was, like, “Oh my gosh! That is so real!” and it wasn’t like I wanted to see the apparition. It wasn’t that. I just knew it was from heaven or something. I just felt it was real, and I thought to myself, “I’ve got to go there.”
I felt immediately called. I stayed up all night. I was thinking, “How am I going to get the money to go there?” This was 1987 or whatever. I was 23 or 22. So, I was thinking, “I’ve got to go there, Lord. Please, could you help me figure out a way to go there?” I was, like, really nervous, thinking, “How am I going to get the money?” Then somebody donated the money, and I actually went to Medjugorje. I went there 12 times, believe it or not, over the next… many years.
The second time I went there, I met a priest, and he was from Ireland. He was leading a Madjugorje prayer group. By that time, the apparition had been going on for six or eight years, and people from all over the world were going there, and people’s lives were really changed. People went there and they prayed, and they came to terms with their lives, and their problems, and they really got a lot of peace from it.
One of Mary’s main messages was peace, pray for peace and be peaceful and, you know, live a peaceful life and turn to God and, you know, put away things that are unpeaceful, and things like that.
So the second time I went there, I met this priest. He’s from Ireland, so I joined up with their group. The following Summer, they said, “Well, you could go to Ireland, with our family,” so I went over there with his family, because I had become friends with his sister. We went to Cork. I don’t know if you ever went to Ireland, but it’s a beautiful place. They had a peat fire, and it was just very… Irish.
The priest came from this very troubled family. As soon as I got there, they were all, like, arguing with each other, and I was thinking, “What in the world is going on here? How did I get here? What kind of family is this?” Anyway, for the next twelve days, he started to, well, he was abusing me, and he assaulted me. The last day, he sexually assaulted me. It happened on the plane.
For the next couple years, I was, like, trying to get the church to acknowledge this. It happened in ’88, I was in graduate school, then in ’91, I went to the bishop. By the time ’91 came around, I had already written to his superiors. They had already stonewalled me many, many times. I wrote to the cardinal. I wrote to a lot of different prelates. First, I wrote to his American superior. They just said, “Oh, that didn’t happen!” Then I wrote to the cardinal. I got nowhere with that. Then I wrote to his Irish superior. I got nowhere with that. Then I went to our bishop, and our bishop said, “I don’t want to get involved. It didn’t happen here.”
Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is, all through the 90’s, while I was doing this work building Lighthouse, while I was, like, in this quandary of, “Lord, what about my vocation? I feel so alone,” I also had this terrible burden of this unresolved thing, and I also had the trauma of the assault.
I felt betrayed by the church, I felt abandoned, and I didn’t know what to do, so in ’93, a friend of mine that was a lawyer said, “Why don’t we just, like, write them a letter and tell them we’re going to sue them,” or something like that, which I really didn’t want to do, but we had no choice.
I was going crazy, because, like, it went against everything that I thought. Like, I didn’t want to sue the church, but what can I do? Like, I didn’t know.
So we did that, so finally, our bishop arranged for that priest to come over here while he was stationed in Nairobi. After the assault, after I raised the allegation, they relocated him to Nairobi, Kenya.
He came over here, and they set up a juridical panel. They recorded our testimonies, then they made a judgement that my allegations were true. The recommended that he gets some kind of psychiatric evaluation and counseling, but they never followed through to let me know whether he actually got them. So years later, I was still trying to figure out if he ever got them, so I really didn’t find out, because every time I wrote them a letter, they never answered me.
Finally, in 2003, after begging and pleading with them, the Irish superior, who was a new superior, I said, “All I want to do is go to Ireland, pray and have a mass, and pray for healing, and please ask his sister to come,” because I was friends with one of his sisters, so that’s what we did. We had a beautiful mass of healing. He didn’t come, but his sister came, and I went through a long period of healing.
Anyway, that’s not the most important part of my story. That doesn’t define me. Some people think that that would be, like, an experience that would define a person’s life. It didn’t define my life. Every suffering I have had has become a great blessing because I have been learning how to love.
The reason I brought up that incident is because, there were three things going on at once. There’s the development of Lighthouse, which was, pretty much, I just prayed and trusted God, depended on whoever God sent, and now we got this house in 2004, which a benefactor bought from us in 2006.
Since 2004, we’ve had, like, 70 different residents living here, people from all walks of life, like mothers and children, people from prisons, people from the streets, people from hospitals, people that had disabilities, people who just needed a home, and needed a chance and all that.
So I did my best to help people, and the whole time I was doing that, I was still thinking, “I want to live a more contemplative life.” This is OK to do this work with the poor, but I need somebody to share my life with, my vows with, and my life.
By the time I was 40, I had had my vows already for almost 20 years. I was really broken hearted, and I thought, “Why can’t something work out? Like, why can’t I just fit somewhere?” But I just didn’t know where to fit, so then I told my sister this one day, “I’m just going to take my ring off. I guess, maybe I should just get on a website and see if I could get married. I don’t want to get married, but maybe God wants me to, because I can’t be alone like this for the rest of my life. I’m 40 years old. What’s going to happen?!”
So anyway, I was really broken hearted. I went on a retreat, and I was just besides myself, thinking, “What am I going to do? How am I going to live these vows by myself? It’s just so terrible. How come the church doesn’t have a place for me?”
Throughout my life, people had said to me, “Why don’t you start your own community?” I thought that was utterly ridiculous. I was like, “No, are you kidding me? Like, I’m the shyest person around. I can’t start a community.”
People kept saying that to me over the years, “Why don’t you start your own thing?” And I thought, “I never want to start anything.” How did I even do this Lighthouse thing? How did this even happen? I just wanted to go somewhere and peel potatoes, and do what I was told, but it never happened.
Around the time of the retreat, I heard of this spiritual family called Carmel, and I started reading all the Carmelite writers, like from the 12th century or whatever, like Saint Teresa, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Therese, and I started thinking, “Oh my gosh!” All of a sudden, it dawned on me. “I think I’m a Carmelite!” It was such a relief, because I realized that whatever their interior lives were about, how they reached God, how they described their interior lives, how they perceived the world, and how they… lived for God was exactly what I felt, and I thought, “Oh my gosh! Finally, there is a name to give my life.” I was so relieved, but I still didn’t have a community to share it with.
That was in 2004, so I went on for next many years, thinking, “I still need a community to share life with. Who would that be? What would that be? Who would understand vows? Who would understand this spiritual journey? Who believes the way I do? I don’t know. Carmelites do, but I can’t go to a traditional Carmelite monastery. They don’t, wouldn’t accept me, and I wouldn’t fit it, because I want to work with the poor. What can I do?”
So, that just went on like that, for more years, until around 2010, I had a Carmelite spiritual director that was a friar, and we were trying to work on forming a community for people who had special needs, like disabilities, people who were in prison, people who were confined, and people who couldn’t join traditional religious communities, so we were going to form one of those, and we worked hard on it. We got it all approved and situated. It almost got off the ground. It took four years to get all the paperwork done. By the time we got all the paperwork done, the American province backed out because they couldn’t do it, logistically.
You’d think I’d be really disappointed, because I had so many disappointments in the past, but for some reason, for the first time in my life, I felt really peaceful. This was already around my mid-40’s, and we had worked on this really hard, so I thought, “I don’t know what God wants me to do. There’s some kind of answer for me. I don’t know what it is, but it’s all right.”
A few months after that, the Carmelites wrote to me and said, “Well, there’s this person in prison. His name is Kevin Tower, and he’s a Carmelite, and he wants somebody to write to him,” so I said, “OK, I’ll write to him. That’s no big deal. I’ve worked in prison my whole life,” but I was kind of intrigued, because I thought, “Well, he’s a Carmelite. I mean, he’s not just reading the Bible in jail. He made a serious commitment. Like, what in the world?”
I started to think to myself, “What’s going on with this Kevin person?”
Two years before that, I met somebody who was wrongfully convicted. I’d been writing this manuscript, and somebody that I knew said, “You should get in touch with so and so. He was in prison. He was wrongly convicted. He wrote a book. He was very successful about it,” and so I got in touch with Chris.
He came over, brought his book and all that. We became very good friends. I was really blown away by his story, because he told me, “Oh, I was wrongfully convicted. I spent six years in prison for a murder I didn’t commit,” and I was, like, really upset by that, when I read his book.
So when I met Kevin, I realized that Kevin was also wrongfully convicted, of two murders that he didn’t commit, so I became very, very, like, arrgh! Like, I just couldn’t live with it, I thought. “Please let us help you,” I said.
I just knew, I just knew it, I just knew. I knew because I have a lot of experience with people in prison. I have lots and lots of experience with people on the street. I know whether somebody is not real, or not. I mean, I just know, because I’ve been around a million times.
So I knew that he was completely genuine. I read his transcripts. I just knew something was desperately wrong, so I started begging him to let us help him, let Lighthouse help him, and he said, “It’s too big of a project. Don’t worry. It’s OK,” but I just kept begging and begging. This was, like, three years ago, 3 ½ years ago.
Because we were both Carmelites, we had similar ideas about what we wanted to do with our life. We had similar goals, similar thoughts. He is extremely talented. He’s very stable. He’s a very well-adjusted person. Very, very, extremely strong in character, because he’s been in prison for 22 ½ years, and he’s not bitter. He’s just a very extraordinary person, the way he’s living his life, and I thought, “Oh my gosh. Like, most people would be crazy,” but he’s not.
I thought to myself, “He’s either crazy. He’s the biggest, craziest person I’ve ever met, or he’s the most, like, unbelievable person.” Anyway, so I got to know him, and I started that, we started to help with the case.
So for the last 3 ½ years, I found myself doing, myself! I was doing the investigative work on the case, to try to get new evidence. All of us were involved in it. Lou was involved in it, me, Joe, my friend Joe that’s a really good friend of mine. He’s a friend of Lighthouse. My twin-sister writes to Kevin.
But I was doing all this work because we couldn’t afford an investigator. So I started, like, going into the court files, digging up records and everything you could think of, like looking into gun samples and blood samples, and all this forensic stuff that I knew nothing about, and it was extremely traumatic for me, because I loved Kevin, and I never did that work before.
Lou and Joe helped me read everything, looking into books, reading files and writing letters, and digging up stuff in files, and calling people on the phone, and interviewing witnesses, and all that. It was hard.
The first year I was involved in it, my health wasn’t good at all. Like, my nervous system was shot from it, because, I mean, all I could do was think about Kevin every day, being in prison, and he didn’t belong there. Like, if I ate a cucumber, I would just feel really sad, thinking, “Oh my God! He hasn’t had any fresh vegetables in years.” It was just a very, extremely, extremely painful thing for me.
I got in touch with one of the witnesses in the case, and she told me that they, the prosecution, before Kevin was convicted, went to her in secret and said, “Say this, this and this on the stand, against Kevin. If you do this, then we’ll give you a deal. If you don’t do this, we’re going to convict you of 28 years in prison.”
So they forced her to do that, so that Kevin was convicted because of her testimony, and because they also took letters, illegally, from Kevin, and twisted a couple of his statements. But anyway, long story short, for the next three years, until just, until now, actually, I worked nonstop on this case.
I traveled back and forth to Michigan, because a benefactor was helping us get back and forth, just going back and forth, back and forth, doing all kinds of things, running all around, and just going out of my mind. But anyway, now we’re at a place where the case is just about resolved, and we’re waiting for the lawyer to get back to us, because they’re trying to make a deal with the prosecution, so Kevin can get released, and he’s going to come here, and he’s going to work here with the ministry, with me.
We have a small, fledging Carmelite community started. It’s not affiliated with the order. It’s approved by our diocese. We have five members all over the country, and one of them was just here, like, over Thanksgiving.
When Kevin gets out, he’ll be coming here, and that can be happening like, literally, any day, so we’re just waiting. It could be before Christmas, or it could be a month after Christmas, or it could be by the Spring, but it probably won’t be much longer than that.
It has been a really serious, serious struggle. Like, incredibly difficult struggle to do something that I never could do before. I never thought I was able to do this, but somehow, I guess, through God’s grace, I did it. I don’t know how.
It was extremely hard. I mean, it has been the hardest thing I ever did. It was harder than the assault, even. It was harder than everything that went with the church or anything, because it was the culmination of a long, long, many years of struggle, many years of waiting, many years of suffering, many years of agony, and to know that Kevin and I, we have the same vocation, we’re going to be together, we’re going to work together and, you know, it’s the conclusion of a long story, and it’s a very difficult conclusion, a very dramatic conclusion, you know, that I wasn’t expecting. I mean, I wasn’t expecting to do that. I didn’t know anything about it.
I was scared all the time. Most of the time, I just wake up in a cold sweat, thinking, “How am I going to do it? Is it going to work out?” It has been a very, very, very difficult… time, you know.
As for society, I think it’s just getting darker, and darker, and darker, and darker, and darker. It’s just maybe evil is getting stronger, but I think there’s going to be a deciding line, like people that want to be good are going to be good, people that are going to be in the dark, are going to be in the dark. People are going to want to find, they’re going to need, desperately, they’re going to run to refuges, whether it’s a physical refuge, because they can’t find a way to feed themselves. They’re going to run to, you know, somewhere where they can take shelter, where somebody is going to love them and care about them, because the world is becoming, like, more and more of a jungle, and I think that’s happening rather quickly.
We haven’t used the natural resources well. In general, humanity hasn’t used, you know, what we’ve been given to the greatest advantage. We haven’t used it as well as we should, or could, that eventually, things will have to break down before they can be rebuilt.
Everyone one of us, in one degree or another, has some kind of what you would call an addiction, and by an addiction, I don’t just mean a drug addiction or anything. It’s just we all have an attachment to something or other that is sort of like a false attachment, and what feed those attachments are lies.
I’m very hopeful, because I believe God has a plan, and I just trust Him. I think God is good, and God works through calamities and difficulties. I believe that God has a plan for all of us. I think that good is always going to triumph over evil. I believe in heaven, so everything always comes up equal, in the end. The score gets all straightened out, because I believe God is good. You know, it’s not about this life. This life is just a vale of tears. I mean, we’re not in heaven. Nobody is going to be perfectly happy here.
We’re a mess, really, but I’m not discouraged by that, because I think God accepts messes, and works with messes, and knows that’s how we are, and knows that we can’t help it. I think God’s specialty is to fix broken things. You know, the more broken it is, God is just like, “Oh good, let me have at it. I’ll do it.”
That’s what I see, here at the Lighthouse, in my own life and all around. I just see God taking things that are total disasters, and fixing them.
The Lighthouse is a welcoming place for the broken hearted. We’re friends to the broken hearted.
Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog

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5 responses to “Obscured American: Lindy Morelli the Carmelite Nun”

  1. Gosh if it really is for criminals perverts shirt lifters and broken hearted
    maybe we could them prince andrew and a whole ship load of our politicians ?

  2. Too long an article….how many bothered to finish it

    Especially since it is depressing stuff.

    Linh Dinh might investigate taking paracetamol it could cure any headache he might have too.

  3. Just simply beautiful … thanks Linh for showing us a glimpse that makes us to reflect and question what the hell we’re doing here …

  4. keep it short next time

  5. Just when my heart gets stoney cold in Life’s freezer compartment, God finds something to soften, then warm it up. When my eyes itch with desert dryness, a joyful sorrow causes soothing tears to flow. I cannot thank you enough for bringing us this truly wonderful story, Linh Dinh. I know that Lindy Morelli has God’s protection and guidance. God bless you, Lindy, and all of us! I shall with all friends and correspondents.

    Note: Shame, Tiberius, for living up to your moniker. I finished it and so will many who receive a vicarious healing, a momentary repenting. May God bless you, too, and sweeten your sour outlook on life! 🙂