It always seems that horrible or devastating things happen at a time when other
problems are already wreaking havoc. For Roberta Denys, the crumbling walls of her life
are being continually shaken by unceasing onslaughts of loss, grief, fear, devastation, and shock. When one emotional crisis begins to simmer into a state of semi-calm, another rapidly jumps up to fill the void.
On the day of her
beloved husbandís funeral, Roberta returns home to find all that they have built together in smoldering ruins. All
the pictures, documents, and possessions reminding her of the life she and Larry
shared are gone. All that remained of their sonís belongings when he walked out the door
a year ago have been eaten by flames. Worst of all, arson is to blame. An enemy of whom she knew nothing
has taken all that is left of her shattered life and wiped it out with the flick of a match. Now, with her grief and little else packed in the trunk of her car, Roberta sets off to begin life anew in
a small one-room shack hidden in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Her lifelong dream of living a simple, holy, monastic life
is finally to be fulfilled.
However, the arsonist who has taken so much from her isn't finished and begins to sweep through her once-familiar neighborhood, attacking old family friendsí homes and leaving little
untouched in his wake. The need to find her son becomes a loud, persistent calling as the arsonistís strikes turn deadly. If the nagging thought in her mind proves true, Roberta knows who the arsonist
is, and she prays to God to help her find him.
On her spiritual quest and dealing with the tremendous issues weighing heavily upon her heart, Roberta needs to come to terms with many unfortunate realities about her life that have always been hidden
from her mindís-eye. As new friends and life-altering experiences finagle their way into Robertaís life, she
is finally able to find the peace within her soul that she's looked to a monastic way of life to instill.
The Feast of Saint Bertie is an interesting approach to one womanís
manner of dealing with enormous grief, struggling with the weight of so much additional heartache in the process. While everyone copes differently and their religious beliefs are certainly varied, Popa
brings together a stirring pot of religious characters and makes them a strong,
supportive community for each other.