Occasions of Sin

In every graduating class there was at least one girl who fastened on the notion of the convent, someone pious who was known never to sass or disobey. Then, too, recruiters came from various religious orders once a year to talk to us about vocations (in the narrowest sense), and they were known to sway a girl who had not yet made up her mind. My classmate Mozelle Chambers, barely fourteen years old, had already sworn to enter the Ursulines four years hence, won over by an afternoon’s visit with a persuasive advocate. Now, though, I thought that one might hear God’s call directly, and that the call might be particular to oneself. To me. Like Saint Joan of Arc, called to dress like a boy and save France. Like Mother’s patron saint, Edith, a tenth-century king’s daughter who proved you could be beautiful—decked out in finery—and be pure and holy, too.

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