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Diana Klueh
Saint Agnes' Garden
Diana Klueh, author
In 1955, eleven-year-old Jodie Sealy and her mother drive away from a privileged but troubled life in Biloxi, Mississippi They travel from "riches to rags" because Momma can't conform to Southern Upper class standards. She is divorced and a "free spirit." Jodie feels she has no say in what happens to her. She has figured out that when she grows up, she will become a teaching nun. Nuns don't need to worry about daddies who run off and a momma who runs away to a cold smelly place way up north in Terre Haute, Indiana. Jodie encounters a new life in a poor neighborhood with her Grandmomma Sealy. Her Catholic school is in a poor neighborhood. Sister Benedicta Renard, the principal at Saint Agnes School considers most of the students to be like dandelions who need much discipline and effort on her part before they become anything like Roses, the ideal. Jodie and her new friends, through trials and difficult experiences learn, as Saint Therese of Lisieux has written in her autobiography, that all flowers, great and small, have a valued place in God's garden. Jodie realizes she is unique and valuable and finds hope in her future.