Thursday, April 09, 2015

I is for Ibarra, Sister Dolorosa: Blogging the ‪#‎atozchallenge

Sister Dolorosa Ibarra grew up in Spain and she is a very important part of The Christmas Daughter: A Marienstadt Story. Actually, I love all the nuns that populate my Marienstadt stories but Sister Dolorosa is special because without her Boone's daughter, Charity, would have had an even more bleak life than she had. Sister Dolorosa loves Charity and she loves Boone for changing this little girl's life.

from The Christmas Daughter
Sister Dolorosa Ibarra was born in a small town at the foot of the Pyrenees in Spain. As a girl she often accompanied her mother, who was devoutly religious, on pilgrimages to Lourdeas across the border in France. She knew it was her mother's dearest wish that her daughter enter the convent but Sister Dolorosa, whose name was Bernadette back then, had other plans. She and her best friend, Yolanda, spent every spare bit of money they could find on movies and movie magazines. They had a secret plan—they were going to cross the Atlantic Ocean to New York and become Rockettes. Bernadette and Yolanda knew they weren't beautiful like the girls they saw in the movies but they were quite convinced that they would become beautiful once they were grown. They spent hundreds of hours watching every movie they could find that featured a chorus line, studied and memorized dance moves, and practiced relentlessly in their bedrooms, kicking their feet up over their heads, laughing, and making plans.
It was the greatest disappointment of Bernadette's young life that Yolanda did something unforgivable. Both of them had worked in shops and restaurants hoarding every penny for their planned defection. But when Yolanda was seventeen she fell in love with a young man named
Cesar L'Cruz. She fell in love and within weeks she was pregnant. Her parents screamed and ranted and raved. The wedding took place with great haste and great shame. Bernadette, however, refused to let her dream die and a year later she packed her bags, left a note, and boarded a boat for America. By some miscommunication she found herself in Atlantic City instead of New York City, but the bright lights there were encouraging. She decided to stay.

Bernadette had been right, of course; she wasn't pretty and she couldn't dance. She could clean hotel rooms and that's what she did, finally moving a little farther down the coast to Ocean City where she could live more cheaply. Humbled by her failure to achieve the dream she'd cherished all her life, she wrote home to Yolanda regaling her with tales of the glamorous life she led as a dancer in fabulous nightclubs. Her deception might have gone on indefinitely had not Cesar L'Cruz proved to be such a terrible driver.
Thanks for reading.

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