This moving and funny portrait of quandaries of faith and fragile family connections brings to life a high-strung matriarch's many obsessions, from proper pope-viewing attire to Saint Theresa's eyebrows.
A conflicted Catholic and amateur linguist, Ursula Codwell has a passion for saints and semantics that is surpassed only by the affection she feels for her husband, her children, and her precious bulldog. Raised in what she refers to as the "fraught and schizoid tradition of Belgian Catholicism," Ursula suffers from neuroses that threaten to overwhelm her children and her ostensibly tolerant Unitarian husband. Her indecisiveness and attention to detail lead her to become fixated on matters such as reclaiming her surgically removed tissue from the lab or deciding what to wear to see the pope when he visits her hometown in New York's Hudson Valley.
In ten interconnected stories-all narrated by Ursula- What to Wear to See the Pope tells the highly entertaining story of a strained but loving family.