A retirement home in Vesoul told Sister Marie-Dominique that she had to give up her religious habit and her veil if she wanted to access a place in a retirement home. The priest of the city denounces a form of "Christianophobia" and principles of secularism "which are not understood".


It is a story that comes to feed a little more the debate on the secularity and the signs of religious affiliation in the public space: in Vesoul, in Haute-Saône, a nun was refused a place in retirement home on the pretext that she wore the habit and especially the veil. According to the priest of the city, this episode is a "Christianophobia".

"Respect for secularism"

Revealed by France Bleu, the case goes back to last year, when Sister Marie-Dominique, who spent her entire life as a nun in a convent in the Drome, takes steps to settle in a retirement home, in its native Haute-Saône. She then files a file in an establishment managed by the CCAS, the municipal center of social action, depending on the town hall of Vesoul.

A year ago, she finds herself on the waiting list. Last summer, a letter from the town hall informs him that "in the respect of secularism, any ostentatious sign of belonging to a religious community can not be accepted in order to ensure the serenity of all". In other words, the sister can get a place but she will have to put off her religious habit and her veil.

A problem of legality?

"The nun refused the place that was offered to her, she did not want to accept the rules of procedure that is the same for everyone," says Claude Ferry, president of the CCAS, the regional media.

Contacted by Europe 1, the observatory of secularism questions the legality of this mail, given that religious neutrality is always asked of public service agents, but never to their users.

For her part, Sister Marie-Dominique would not wish to leave her veil, according to the parish. At the same time, the priest found him an apartment where she now lives alone.