Two elderly Italian Carmelite nuns who chained themselves to a lamp post outside the Vatican on Sunday claim to have been expelled from their convent.
Two nuns chained themselves in front of the Vatican to get Pope Benedict's attention claiming they had been turned away from their convent, local media reported.
Dressed in Carmelite habits, the nuns said they have not been allowed back into their convent in central Italy when they returned after leaving for health reasons in 2005.
"After 50 or 60 years of monastic life dedicated to the Church, we were thrown helpless into the street like two bags of garbage," said Sr Albina Locantore, 73, who had chained herself along with 79-year-old Sr Teresa Izzi.
The two women told reporters they had left their convent of Carmelite nuns in central Italy for several months for health reasons but when they returned the mother superior refused to let them back in the cloistered convent, Reuters added.
The mother superior accused them of disobedience and banished them, the nuns said.
One of the nuns held up a placard reading: "Your Holiness, we are neither prostitutes, nor violent, nor thieves, nor mentally infirm."
Another placard appealed to the pope to investigate their case.
The unusual protest took place near where the Pope traditionally gives his Sunday noon Angelus prayer from his office window overlooking Saint Peter's Square.
The Vatican was trying to arrange a meeting between the nuns and an official of the Vatican department that oversees convents.
Two nuns chain themselves in Vatican protest (AFP, 9/6/08)
Elderly nuns chain themsleves at Vatican protest (Reuters, 9/6/08)