They have all taken the traditional vow of poverty, so police and tax inspectors in Spain want to know why the nuns at Zaragoza’s Santa Lucia convent claimed that a robber had stolen €1.5million in cash from them.
The nuns’ unorthodox banking system, using dozens of black bin liners stuffed with high denomination euro banknotes, has made investigators suspect that the cash they handled did not come solely from the Sunday collection plate. The fact that they later changed their story to claim that the money that disappeared while they were saying their prayers a fortnight ago only amounted to €450,000 has done nothing to allay those suspicions.
According to the evidence given to police, the nuns kept their haul of cash in a locked cupboard, much of it in the €500 notes favoured by those paying for, or receiving, services in Spain’s abundant black economy…
The nuns said they had been preparing to distribute some of the money to other convents in financial difficulties. Unlike most of the nuns who live in the hundreds of crumbling, half-empty convents dotted around Spain, the 16 Cistercians at Santa Lucia have no financial problems.
As expert restorers of old books, their services are constantly required by libraries and private collectors. Neighbours said the convent was always busy, with the nuns’ white van constantly driving in and out of the gates. One of their number, Sister Isabel Guerra, is a renowned portrait painter whose pictures fetch up to €40,000 each and are key to maintaining other Cistercian convents around Spain…
The nuns’ lawyer, Jesús Garcia Huíci, said…”The money comes from a lifetime of saving.”
So, if they are telling the truth, why didn’t they use a bank. I doubt if there’s a dicho in their catechism about refusing interest on savings.
Nope – changing your story to reduce the cash stolen by two-thirds is another footnote that prompts a bit more than curiosity.