Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In a hospital ward, two white-clad Sisters of St. Augustine are making their rounds. One of them, a novice, is Sister Philomène, whose name was originally Marie Gaucher. She is the daughter of a tailoress and a locksmith and was orphaned at the age of four, when she was adopted by an aunt who was a servant to the widowed Madame de Viry. In that pleasant household, the child began to thrive, and she soon assumed equal footing with Madame de Viry’s son, Henri. Madame de Viry felt this situation to be dangerous and she sent the child, screaming, to a convent orphanage. To avoid confusion with another child there called Marie, the Sisters called her Philomène. Though she was miserable at first, she gradually lost her resentment as she became accustomed to convent routine, although she changed from a vivacious child into a quiet and a whining one. She was restless, living only for her aunt’s monthly visit. One Sister, the ugly but good and kind Marguerite, paid special attention to Philomène.
At the age of ten, Philomène became the intimate friend of a newcomer, twelve-year-old Céline. Much of Céline’s childhood was spent in reading the Lives of the Saints aloud to her infirm grandmother, and she developed a mystic temperament. She liked to deny herself pleasures, to fast, and to invent self-punishments, and she converted Philomène to a course of personal sacrifices. Philomène worked herself up to a state of religious agitation,...
(The entire section is 1297 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Sister Philomène Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!