Frequently Asked Questions

Questions most often asked by readers of Consequences

Answers may contain spoilers – be forewarned

– Did Grace have an abortion?

Yes. They don’t specifically say it because it would not have been talked about at the time, given that it was illegal and a mortal Their dancing around it was the only way they could have communicated about it.

– Are any of Catherine McAuley’s actual words used in the story?

Yes. She famously said,”The poor need help today, not next week.”

– If Catherine was a spinster (unmarried woman) who later became a nun, who were the kids a her house?

Catherine adopted several of her relatives after their parents died. By 1827, she had taken in nine or 10 children: seven cousins and three orphans. Most of them ended up helping at the House of Mercy and some went on to become Sisters.

– Why did the nun at the Carmelite convent have a black veil over her face? 

Before Vatican II members of cloistered religious orders placed a veil over their faces when meeting with members of the public as a sign of being cut off from the world. Like the Amish, they also did not allow their photographs to be taken, except for in a handful of circumstances, like when they took their final vows. Not being able to see their faces was symbolic of being in the world but not part of it.

– Why did Catherine insist on the lamp in the window at the end of the story?

For just the reason she said – she wanted women all over Dublin to know they could find shelter there. While Margaret and the scene in which Catherine talks about the lantern are fictional, she really did insist upon it as a symbol of hope and welcome.

– Out of all the characters, which ones were historical?

Catherine McAuley, Daniel O’Connell and Anna Marie Doyle (who makes a brief appearance in the last scene).