Swinging planks of lantern light shine through the musty air and onto the dirt floor of the church basement. The oddly glowing rectangles syncopate over the damp ground and illuminate even the darkest, stooped-down corners of the space beyond. The only sound is the ragged breathing of two men, a young parish priest and a much older laborer. Aboveground these men belong completely to this place, in both body and soul. A glimpse of their faces anywhere in the sanctuary, the rectory, the school, the barn, or the gardens would be a welcome sight. But here below, these men of Isadore are interlopers. Only trespassers would sneak silently into the church's sloped underbelly without witness to carry out such a sinful and secret errand as this one. Despite their tools, and their lantern, and their resolve, neither is equipped for the task at hand or for what is to come.
"In Isadore's Secret, Mardi Link shines a journalist's lamp on this dark, quiet corner of Michigan's history, assuring that the tragic story of Sister Janina is not forgotten. Link's telling is fascinating and thorough, making a story you will not soon forget."
—Steve Lehto, author of Death's Door
This true story was the basis for the Broadway play The Runner Stumbles and the film of the same name.
Front cover: Photograph of cemetery © John L. Russell, Great Lakes Images; image of face ©iStockphoto.com/duncan1890.