~ I lay next to Al, the man who would have married me, except for the rules.
St. Croix Valley, 1977
In a world where women’s opportunities are limited, devout Meg Joyce takes a job visiting homebound parishioners for St. Mike’s. Far from landing in a holy haven, the young and naive Meg finds herself fending off the priest from prayer group who tricks her into viewing a painting that hangs over his bed as he rants about the woman who gave it to him. When Meg expresses alarm to the parish nurse, she is told not to make a mountain out of a molehill.
But it’s salt of the earth Fr. Al Vogel who turns her world upside down when he’s assigned to the parish – the rugged stranger who helped her coax an elderly woman’s cat down from a tree, before learning he was a priest. Meg knows the rules and is loath to add another sin to her family’s litany of taboos, but when Fr. Al is injured in a car accident, the rules don’t make sense. Can she survive in his world of secrets and shadows? At what cost?
Against the backdrop of a Catholic Church reeling from Vatican II’s changes to long-held traditions, as well as impacts from women’s liberation, Meg grapples with the underbelly of an institution she once trusted, a crisis of faith in God, and a reckoning with her dreams.
Creative Wisconsin Anthology, Honorable Mention, Jade Ring Contest, Wisconsin Writers Association, 2019
Midwest Review, 2nd Place, Poetry Contest, University of Wisconsin-Madison Writers’ Institute, 2015
Vote Like an Inchworm, Medium.com, 2020
Performed at Milwaukee Irish Fest, Summerfest lakefront grounds
The Magic Fiddle
The Fairy Ring
Shanahan and the King
The Knight of Terrible Valley
Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free: A Covid-19 Story for Children
by Lora Hyler
Reviewed for Wisconsin Writers Association online blog, 2020
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.