Mary-Margaret Fischer emerges into the world at the same moment her mother is leaving it. “Conceived in sin and birthed in sorrow,” she is the tangible result of a seminary student forcing himself upon her mother, who had just taken her vows as a School Sister of Notre Dame. Now in her 70s, Mary-Margaret, along with her circle of sisters, is somewhat reluctantly writing her memoir “for those who will follow us, so they’ll know that sometimes God calls us to do things we may never understand, and that sometimes God calls us to do things we can grasp the reason of right away. Usually there’s a little of both in the mix, if you live long enough and develop the capability of recognizing the Divine fingerprint. Holy smudges abound, indeed.”
Raised by her grandmother and aunt, and later by the sisters of St. Mary’s Convent School, Mary-Margaret’s earliest memories include Jude Keller, the lightkeeper’s son, who would take her life sailing, spiraling and diving like the kites he loved to fly. The other was Jesus, who overflowed her heart with love, even when guiding her down paths she didn’t want to go. Her visits from Jesus were perhaps my favorite parts as they continued on through the years, powerful in their brevity and simplicity. Lisa Samson made these conversations believable and wonderful. But let’s get on with the story.
Jude grows better looking and a little rougher around the edges with each passing year. There is something about him that excites the young Mary-Margaret, and something about her that he keeps inside his heart’s only tender spot, reserved for no one else. As teenagers, the choices they take head them in far different directions, and it seems implausible the two could possibly end up together. But God has plans for them both, and together they must be.
Mary-Margaret moves diligently toward her dream of becoming a sister, serving in the South during the civil rights movement. When she attempts to merge the black and white classrooms of a Catholic school, she is mercilessly beaten by the KKK while the school burns down. Meanwhile, Jude, who ran away from an abusive home situation, has fallen into a life of prostitution and drugs. Wee