Maggie, now in her thirties, revisits Mayfield convent school for a reunion. Struggling to decide whether to leave a deeply unhappy marriage, she finds herself in the chapel beside foundress Cornelia Connelly’s tomb. Although she is no longer a Catholic, Maggie’s despair drives her to pray unexpectedly for guidance. Sharing a common love for music and dance, Cornelia’s remarkable life begins to waltz and weave through Maggie’s. During the acrimonious divorce that follows, including the loss of custody of her two children, Maggie continues to draw inspiration and courage from Cornelia’s progress from 19th century wife of the passionate, ambitious Pierce Connelly and mother to their five children, to sudden heart-breaking bereavement, the shattering of her own marriage, then alienation from her surviving children, as she discovers her own calling to become an enlightened educational pioneer.
Throughout, Maggie never gives up hope that one day, she will be reunited with her distant children. As their separate yet connected dance continues across the years Maggie is ultimately transported to a kind of redemption, something that seems miraculous.