Secrets Unveiled, Carol Crayton
Unveiling secrets of an uncertain future as a nun
Erin Meathe witnesses, first hand, the outcome of illegal abortions during the 1960's, through the death of her mother. This event has a major impact on a decision Erin makes in college, after having been raped and becoming pregnant. Her dream of becoming a religious nun and social activist is threatened by this pregnancy. Deciding not to follow her mother's path, Erin leaves her home in New Jersey and travels to Massachusetts to have the baby and to give it up for adoption. Erin not only leaves behind her baby, but also walks away from her female lover, father, and inner-city parish work. She transfers to a college in Massachusetts where she tries to rediscover the enthusiasm and confidence that had spurred her toward a religious vocation.
Erin networks with feminists from an area college and meets radical nuns who appeal to Erin's interest in religious life and activism. A particular nun, Sr. Michele, shows more than a friendly interest in Erin, sparking a mutual attraction that continues throughout Erin's entrance into the convent and successful rise in leadership in the religious congregation. As a nun, Sr. Erin confronts the hidden rivalries that go on between women of the Habit. Sr. Erin becomes entangled in the quagmire of jealousy as she grows closer to Sr. Michele, emerging as a threat to a vindictive and possessive nun, Sr. Deborah. Functioning as the leader of the congregation, Sr. Erin discovers Sr. Deborah molesting a young postulant named Rhonda, and ousts Sr. Deborah from the congregation. Deborah, bent on revenge, leaves to find a new community in Provincetown, as manager of a lesbian bar. Rhonda leaves shortly thereafter, and attends a college in New York City. Sr. Erin is left to re-examine her own sexuality and vocation.
The story shifts away from the convent and follows Rhonda's journey into the New York City lesbian scene. At Hunter College, Rhonda meets Anne, an attractive student who shares Rhonda's lesbian leanings and childhood as adoptees. Their friendship solidifies as each woman searches for lasting love in the many bars and bedrooms of New York City, Boston, and Provincetown. Rhonda and Anne pursue separate careers and eventually drift apart, both geographically and emotionally. As time passes, a mutual friend bridges the gap between Rhonda and Anne, resulting in a telephone call in which Rhonda convinces Anne to accompany her on a women's gay cruise. It is here that the women in Rhonda and Anne's past converge, revealing truths that ultimately bring Rhonda and Anne to a greater understanding of themselves and their relationship.
The flow of honesty between Rhonda and Anne spills over into a quest for Anne's biological mother. It is during this pursuit that these two women come face to face with Sr. Erin and realize the consequences of their past decisions, as well as leave Sr. Erin to confront her own hidden secrets and uncertain future as a nun.