Shortly after WWII, an American soldier (Norman) and a Polish refugee (Emilia) fall deeply in love. Eventually he returns to the states and both expect that she and her mother will soon follow him. Emilia's mother is sick but should recover with the proper medicine. Somehow, the mother but not Emilia, realizes that there will only be one ticket. Realizing that Emilia would never abandon her to seek her happiness in America, the mother secretly throws away the medicine given her by Emilia - and dies. Somehow, Emilia discovers her mother's sacrifice and refuses to benefit from it. She gives the ticket to a female friend and retreats to a cloister, living like a nunbut not taking the vows. For decades, she apparently lives in peace. Then a nun tells her that Norman has died and has bequeathed his fortune to Emilia. The nun suggests that Emilia give the money to the cloister. But from that moment on Emilia's religious devotion vanishes. She thinks only of going as speedily as possible to America to see Norman's grave.