7 September 2002
Portuguese-Canadians Icelia and her ten year old daughter Monica have just moved from the Portuguese neighborhood in Toronto's inner city to a small basement suite in the outer suburbs following Icelia's acrimonious break-up with Monica's father, Vincent. While Icelia tries to make ends meet by doing housekeeping work, her brother Albert, who also lives with them sleeping on their living room sofa, is Monica's reluctant guardian and chauffeur. "Reluctant" as he would rather sleep or watch videos than take care of his niece. Icelia is unaware that Albert still associates with Vincent in order to receive what he believes are small favors from Vincent. Meanwhile, Monica, often left to her own devices, is a solitary girl whose primary fascination and focus is Catholicism, most specifically its rituals and symbols. As such, Monica wants more than anything to go back to her old Catholic school, located miles away, rather than attend her new secular school, and be one of the guardian angels in the church's upcoming processional. Despite her preoccupation with religion, Monica is no saint as she does what it takes to get her wish. Through stealing a pair of angel wings from the church, the wings which are part of a costume for the processional, Monica meets a homeless, seemingly crazy but extremely devout woman named Mary. Although Monica has ulterior motives for initially wanting to meet Mary, Monica becomes absorbed in Mary's daily ritual. In coming to understand why Mary does what she does, Monica comes to her own realization that there may be more important things in life than what was her primary focus.
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