A novel for teenage girls; especially Catholic teenage girls.
Coerced by her mother, Stacy attends a religious conference and has a mystical experience which starts her on the road to conversion. She will find herself swept up in a romance with the wrong guy, but her new-found faith will eventually guide her in choosing the right partner.
“Guess where we're going on vacation?”
Groggy, Stacy looked up from the novel she had been trying to read, “Aspen.”
Rose shot her daughter a look.
“We never vacate, Mom. What about the bread store?” Her mother adjusted the heat to a lower setting and nudged the car radio down a bit. “Your uncle can mind the register for a couple of days and we've got quite a bit frozen. They can do without the fresh stuff for awhile. I doubt if anyone will die until we get back.”
Stacy was completely awake now. She firmly closed her book and shoved it in her pack. “Who all is included in this “we” that are going on vacation, anyway? For that matter, where are you planning to take me?” She was unable to disguise her alarm.
“Emily and you. Reecie, of course. I'm hoping your grandmother will come to keep me company. Since I'm renting a van I thought Ezekiel and Arthur could come with us.”
Hmm. Arthur was of interest, although the last thing she would do is let her mother know she thought so. Wait a minute. Where could she possibly be planning to take such an oddball group of people? Stacy was definitely suspicious. She locked eyes with her mother's image in the rear view mirror. “Where are you taking me?” (against my will, was implicit.)
Her mother cleared her throat. “It's kind of a pilgrimage,” she said.
“Absolutely not,” Stacy folded her arms and looked out the window.
Her mother pulled the car to the side of the road and placed it in park. She turned to face her oldest daughter. “Stacie, sweetie, your sister and the boys need a retreat in order to be confirmed. There's this conference coming to the Cities with a lot of top notch speakers. I had hoped we could all go as a family. We'll get a hotel suite with a pool and hot tub. We can eat out in the evenings.” She flashed her daughter her most winsome smile. “It'll be fun. You'll see.”
“Mom, you know how I feel about religion.” Stacy had not attended religion class since her mother had removed her from CCD in fifth grade, angry that her teacher at the time was not adhering to the doctrines of Catholicism. Stacy had quit going to church altogether when she was in ninth grade. “Can I just stay at the hotel and watch TV while you all do this conference stuff?”
“I already enrolled you in the teen workshop. I wish you would just go with the others. Stacy,” her mother clasped Stacy's hands in her own,”it would mean a lot to me. I know you're almost eighteen. Soon you'll be making all of your own decisions. Humor me with this last thing we do together.
Besides,” she considered her eldest daughter gravely, “you might meet someone interesting.” There was the familiar glint in her mother's eye. Where other moms tend to tell their daughters that it was just as easy to marry a rich man, Stacy's mom would say it was just as easy to marry a Catholic. “I firmly hope I didn't make a bad choice when I named you after St. Anastasia.” Anastasia, Stacy knew, had married a pagan who had treated her ill for her entire life, imprisoning her in their home and abusing her for her Christian beliefs. Stacy's goofy mom tended to believe that the name you chose for your child could predetermine her life. “Oh well, at least you 'will rise again'.” She said this glibly. Resurrection. That was the meaning of Stacy's name. Stacy's mom pulled out into traffic. “We can talk about this more at work,” she said.