Fiction. Women's Studies. HOLY RULE takes place during three weeks in October, 1958, focusing on the lives of a group of nuns who teach at St. Monica's Girls' School. During this time of high autumn, the pope lies dying in Rome—and then finally dies—while thousands of miles away life carries on among the students and teaching nuns in St. Monica's Girls' School. The girls—Gwen, J.J., Sally—are living in the adolescent space between childhood and adulthood and are testing their limits with their nun-teachers. Meanwhile, those same nun-teachers—Sisters Zélie, Martha, Beatrice—are living under a rule that to the outside world is regarded as "holy," but is more ambiguous to those on the inside. As the Reverend Mother grieves the loss of the pope, she makes impossible demands upon her charges. For the nuns teaching in the school, there is the added struggle of rebellious teenagers. For those who remain in the convent all day—Sisters Kate, Clementia, Antonetta and the housemaid Lizzie—various forms of subterfuge are used to cope with their lack of freedom. Some are able to choose their own inner path, others succumb to injustice and meanness. All of them are plodding their way through cultural and spiritual terrain that is both familiar and alien. They harbor regrets for the past as they negotiate their way through a present that is shifting under their feet. Unknown to all of them, their lives are spilling into a world on the cusp of change.
Mary Frances Coady was born in Saskatchewan and raised in Alberta. She now lives in Toronto. She is the author of several biographies, young adult fiction, and a collection of linked short stories, The Practice of Perfection. Her short fiction has also appeared in The Antigonish Review, The Dalhousie Review, The Fiddlehead, Whetstone, Commonweal, and other publications. She has taught at Centennial College and Sheridan College, and has also worked as an editor and creative writing instructor. She currently teaches professional communication at Ryerson University in Toronto.
Author City: TORONTO, ON CAN