An unpublished short story that I wrote, Consequences, has made it into the Quarterfinals of the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition. The quarterfinals represent the top 356 stories out of over 1,500 submissions.
Consequences is historical fiction that tells the story of a real-life event in the life of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy religious order. Before she became a Sister, Catherine used her inheritance to build a refuge for poor women and children called the House of Mercy across from the Bank of Ireland in Dublin. One day while the House was still being constructed, a young domestic servant who was “in moral peril” due to poor treatment by her master came to Catherine seeking refuge. Catherine did everything she could to find a place for this girl to go, but failed. Instead of taking her into her own home, for some reason that has been lost to history, Catherine, a normally overly accommodating woman, turned the servant away. She never saw the girl again and it haunted her for the rest of her life. (Catherine is now on the path to sainthood in the Catholic church, being declared Venerable – step 1 of 3 to becoming a saint – in 1990.)
Consequences is the servant’s story or at least what I imagine it to be. I first heard about this story nearly 20 years ago and the paradox of Catherine’s normally charitable and saintly life with her actions in this incident has long stuck in my mind. I knew it was something I had to explore. Consequences was written for an anthology that has not taken shape. Hopefully I will be able to share it with you in the future, but I don’t want to put it online because then it would be considered published.
This is the best short story I’ve ever written, so I’m really proud of it. We’ll see if it goes anywhere in this competition. It looks like the semifinalists will be announced some time next month.