A woman of faith writes with compassion and conviction of her life in an American convent, of what she observed there, of why she and others left and others remained. When Norma Downey was orphaned at the age of twelve, she determined, rather than burden an unwilling uncle whose family was already large, to become a nun. After spending three years in an orphan home attached to a convent, she journeyed from her native Newfoundland to California to join an order vowing Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. She was a member of the convent community for four years, and she tells the story of her experiences and those of her fellow novices as they lived through the training and trials that either served to make them take their final vows or leave the order. Christine left the convent because she needed to love and be loved, Geraldine because she was ill, and Monica (the author) because she wanted to be young and gay. They left behind Emily, a scourge determined to be a saint, the kind Pauline, sweet Margaret. The working of the convent with novices, canonicals, professed, lay sisters, with labor and lessons in obedience and prayer come alive in a portrait at once humane and firm.