I am the one who emerges from my stony, virginal self as a vibrantly alive being. The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary from my childhood was never real to me, and I had trouble relating to her in the convent. It was after I left and took classes in Women’s Studies, when I discovered the actual meaning of the word virgin. Original virgins were anything but celibate, non-sexual woman. They were strong, defiant and independent, because they resisted being herded into Patriarchal submission during the Burning Times . I still work at restoring the strength and freedom I so blithely signed away so many years ago.