It is January 1957. Without warning, Virginia Pearson breaks her engagement to academic Philip Stevenson to enter the convent of the Suffering Saviour. She says she has an irresistible calling. Philip is devastated. Though living up to the responsibilities of his academic position, he slides into depression, too much drink, and a series of short-term relationships.
Virginia makes friends with the beautiful, introverted Aine O’Riordan who enters the convent at the same time. Strange inexplicable happenings torment the sensitive and withdrawn Aine. Virginia tries to comfort her, but Aine’s anxiety forces her out of the convent. She leaves Virginia behind to deal with an atmosphere of foreboding that seems to infect the life of the convent. (Descent into Hades: A Spiritual Journey, Book 3 of the Conciliar series relates what happens to Aine.)
Virginia, now Sister Agnes, is suspicious of Margaret McGuigan, now Sister Catherine, and her manipulative ways. She wonders about her role in the communal infection. Agnes barely suppresses her suspicion and antagonism toward Catherine through their religious training to their university course in 1962.
But the privilege of attending university brings fresh problems for Sister Agnes. Philosophy lecturer Phil Stevenson leads her tutorial group. It does not take long for them to realize their relationship has not ended, despite Agnes’s supreme efforts to keep Philip at bay.
The dark events in the convent, the leftist bullying on campus, the conflict with furtive, manipulative Sister Catherine, and her love for Philip have her rushing toward a crisis in which she acts out of character.
The CONCILIAR SERIES will consist of six connected but stand-alone stories. The themes of the ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, the occult and Gnosticism are threads running through the stories. The Second Vatican Council and the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s (1965-1975) form the background to the series. The first book in the series, TIMES OF DISTRESS, was released October 2020, DESCENT INTO HADES: A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, book 3, is due for release September 2021, COUNTERCULTURE DREAMS, book 4, is due April 2022. THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS, book 5, will be released in 2022.