"Riveting, powerful, electrifying drama...the dialogue crackles." - New York Daily News"Outstanding play [that]...deals intelligently with questions of religion and psychology." - The New York Times
The Story: Summoned to a convent, Dr. Martha Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, is charged with assessing the sanity of a novice accused of murdering her newborn. Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior, determinedly keeps young Agnes from the doctor, arousing Livingstone's suspicions further. Who killed the infant and who fathered the tiny victim? Livingstone's questions force all three women to re-examine the meaning of faith and the power of love leading to a dramatic, compelling climax.
A hit on Broadway and later on film featuring Jane Fonda, Anne Bancroft and Meg Tilly, this play features veteran VP actresses Jennifer Murch and Kathleen Wynn Holter.
John Pielmeier's story was inspired by events that occurred in a convent just outside the city limits of Rochester. Sister Maureen Murphy, a thirty-six-year-old Montessori teacher, was found bleeding in her room by the other sisters of the convent after she did not come down for meals. Sister Maureen denied she had given birth; when examined by medical staff, she said she couldn't remember being pregnant. She had covered up the pregnancy by wearing the traditional nun's habit. The baby was found dead in her small convent room in a waste basket, asphyxiated.
This story also inspired the novel Unholy Child by journalist Catherine Breslin, who followed the trial. (Vespa, M., 1980, February 11, People Magazine Archive. Available from
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“Riveting, powerful, electrifying drama…the dialogue crackles.” – New York Daily News “Outstanding play [that]…deals intelligently with questions of religion and psychology.” – The New York Times The Story: Summoned to a convent, Dr. Martha Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, is charged with assessing the sanity of a novice accused of murdering her newborn. Miriam Ruth,...