Love Medicine

Love Medicine


Louise Erdrich

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Sister Mary Martin de Porres Character Analysis

A nun at the Sacred Heart Convent. Gordie Kashpaw comes to the convent window in the dead of night looking to confess June’s murder, and Sister Mary is the only nun awake. Sister Mary is obviously frightened when Gordie shows up at her window hysterically rambling about a confession, but she also displays bravery and compassion. In this way, Sister Mary is a prime example of the incredible strength of women in the novel, but she also embodies the thinly veiled racism that plagues the novel’s Native American characters. For instance, once Sister Mary discovers the dead deer in the back of Gordie’s car, she turns on him and chases him off into the woods. She treats him like an animal, driving him back to the bush, and then she sits and listens to him cry in the distance. Lipsha later asks Sister Mary to bless the hearts for his love medicine, but she refuses. Sister Mary assumes that Lipsha’s love medicine is a silly love spell instead of what it actually is: a sacred and powerful Chippewa tradition. Sister Mary dismisses his request, nearby minimizing Lipsha and his cultural beliefs.
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Sister Mary Martin de Porres Character Timeline in Love Medicine

The timeline below shows where the character Sister Mary Martin de Porres appears in Love Medicine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Crown of Thorns
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
At the Sacred Heart Convent, Sister Mary Martin de Porres can’t sleep. She is startled by Gordie’s sudden presence at her window... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Sister Mary asks Gordie where his wife is now, and he leads her out to the car.... (full context)
Love Medicine
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
God and Religion  Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...asks the priest to bless the turkey hearts, but the priest tells him to ask Sister Mary instead. When Sister Mary won’t bless the hearts either, Lipsha dips his fingers in the... (full context)