An apparition of the Virgin Mary has appeared in a nursing home window, drawing a crowd of devout pilgrims, curious gawkers, and eager vendors. Mimi, a talented reporter battling burnout, is assigned to cover the spectacle in a series of front-page articles meant to boost her newspaper’s sagging circulation. A lapsed Catholic, she at first resists the assignment but soon falls under the spell of her subjects’ remarkable stories.
Mimi’s failing mother, Antonella, is a resident of the facility. When Mimi is not banging out articles on deadline, she’s recording Antonella’s colorful remembrances of her Depression-era youth in an Italian immigrant community—including her courtship by the farmer she ended up marrying for little more than escape from her archetypal wicked stepmother. Whatever happened to Jimmy, Antonella wonders, the nice Sicilian boy her parents wouldn’t allow her to date, the boy who might have saved her from years of misery? As the newspaper is absorbed by a media conglomerate and Antonella’s health declines, Mimi sets out to answer the question, discovering that it hinges on an enigmatic omelette-making priest.