Arriving in wind-swept San Juan to enter the Convent San Tanco, Sister Bertrille , a novice from the U.S., discovers that she can fly. Before Sister Jacqueline and Sister Sixto reach the pier to welcome her, Sister Bertrille is blown into the sea. She swims to the yacht of Carlos Ramirez, a wealthy discotheque owner and unwittingly spoils Carlos' plans for a fun-filled weekend. At the convent, again lifted by the wind, Sister Bertrille concludes that her flying is a quirk of aerodynamics controlled by the tilt of her cornette. Appalled by the shabbiness of the children and lack of space and equipment, Sister Bertrille starts a campaign to raise money. Mother Superior, who has been fighting poverty for years, is outraged when she finds the nuns selling cookies, paintings, and straw hats, putting on a show in the town square. Sister Bertrille learns that Carlos owns a piece of land the sisters need but can't persuade him to donate it to them. When the wind carries her off again, Sister Bertrille stuns a submarine crew by landing on their surfaced craft. Carlos, en route to a rendezvous with Louise, sees Sister Bertrille flying near his plane. Feeling he has had a religious experience, he turns back and donates his land to the convent. Sister Bertrille crashes into an Army base and is held as a spy. She is released when Mother Superior and Sister Jacqueline vouch for her and Carlos testifies he saw her flying. Sister Bertrille sews weights in her habit to keep her grounded and turns down an offer to appear on the Ed Sullivan show.
Carlos Ramirez, a playboy, sees Sister Bertrille flying and decides to reform. Mother Superior asks Sister Bertrille not to fly during Bishop Dillion's visit to the convent. At Carlos' discotheque, his girl friend, Dottie, tells gamblers Lou Cottrell and Tony Petroni of his reform. Learning that Sister Bertrille is responsible for the change in Carlos, Dottie visits her. Sister Bertrille tells Sister Jacqueline she doesn't want Carlos' conversion based on his mistaken belief of a vision. Carlos hears Sister Bertrille's explanation and feels he must regain his playboy reputation. Meanwhile, Bishop Dillion decides to thank Carlos personally for his donation. Carlos loses heavily at poker to Lou and Tony. Lou wagers everything against Carlos' yacht. Carlos bets that within hours, Sister Bertrille will fly and asks her help. Sister Bertrille explains her grounding for the duration of the Bishop's visit. Carlos threatens to withhold final papers on his donation of the land. When Mother Superior instructs Sister Bertrille always to consider the good of the convent, she decides to make one pass over the yacht. At that instant, Mother Superior and Bishop Dillion come aboard. To protect Sister Bertrille, Carlos shoves the Bishop overboard. Sister Bertrille saves him from drowning. Open-mouthed, Tony and Lou pay off. Sister Bertrille regrets she disobeyed Mother Superior's orders but reflects it was for the good of the convent, especially since Carlos has made a further donation for school equipment. Wondering how the Bishop fell overboard, Mother Superior agrees with Sister Bertrille that the wind does strange things in San Juan.
When the convent station wagon finally conks out, despite Sister Bertrillet's efforts, she persuades Mother Superior to use an emergency fund to replace it. Honest Hernando unloads a lemon that breaks down on a lonely road. Sister Bertrille finds Carlos picnicking with beautiful Diane nearby. He gets it moving again, but in reverse, Sister Bertrille returns the car to Hernando, who buys it back at a handsome profit. She borrows Carlos' luxurious station wagon and parks it in the driveway of the convent while she gets a lift to town. Sister Jacqueline is impressed by Sister Bertrille's "bargain." When a basement wall begins to crack, Mother Superior, in the emergency, orders Sister Jacqueline to return the car to Hernando and get the money back. Unwittingly she sells Carlos' car. Meanwhile, drenched by a sudden downpour, Carlos and Diane trudge to town. Sister Bertrille tries to retrieve Carlos' car, but Hernando holds out for another $1000. In desperation she appeals to Carlos for the money. Indignant, he refuses but a chance remark suggests a way out. He gets Sister Bertrille to buy back the old station wagon for $50. Then, implying that an antique buff is hunting that particular car, Carlos offers $1500 for it. Hernando hastens to San Tanco and frantically outbidding himself and everyone else, pays $3000 for the old car. Later, realizing he has been taken, Hernando is furious but then feels ashamed of his greed. Relenting, Carlos arranges a fast deal. Hernando gets back most of his money, except the cost of repairing the old car, and a generous contribution to the convent.
Almost three centuries old, the convent bell goes flat. Sr. Bertrille works on the bell but rusted beyond repair, it cracks. Sr. Jacqueline reveals a new bell had been sent from Belgium long ago, but the ship carrying it sank off the coast. To salvage it would require a fortune and a boat. Sr. Bertrille decides to approach Carlos Ramirez, who has both. She goes to his yacht and finds Carlos with Binkie Wadsworth, a languid beauty, who is bored by his suggestions to amuse her. Carlos flatly refuses to help retrieve the bell but Binkie, hearing the sunken ship is marked on a map in a "haunted house" hails it as a new adventure. Seeing his opportunity to arouse Binkie's interest, Carlos orders Pedro to plant a map, and a bell, which Carlos will then retrieve on a weekend treasure hunt with Binkie. Sr. Bertrille gets reluctant permission to search the "haunted house" with Sr. Jacqueline and Sr. Ana. Bearing lanterns, they arrive about the same time as Carlos and Binkie. Remembering the "ghosts," everyone is terrified, until they meet and find Pedro's planted map. Forced to take Sr. Bertrille along, Carlos casts off. Bored by Carlos' unsuccessful dives, Binkie starts fishing. Just as Carlos and Pedro hoist up the bell, Binkie is yanked overboard. As Binkie clings to driftwood, Sr. Bertrille flies overhead and drops her a life preserver. Later, in the hospital, Binkie, convinced she has had a vision, resolves to change her ways. Carlos and Pedro are stunned to find they have salvaged the real bell for San Tanco.
Sr. Bertrille crashes through a stained glass window that took Señor Trazo a year. To solve Sr. Bertrille's problem with high winds, Rev. Mother decides on transfer to a calmer climate, possibly the Holy City. Overcome at leaving, Sr. Bertrille blames her tears on an allergy hibiscus. She asks the transfer to be kept secret for a while. Carlos Ramirez learns that Sr. Bertrille may not be there at Christmas to supervise the building of a playground and expresses shock to Rev. Mother. Sr. Ana gets the idea Sr. Bertrille is dying. Meanwhile, Carlos makes plans. To spare Sr. Bertrille, the nuns take over her duties and force her to rest. Rev. Mother chides Sr. Bertrille for spending her last days at San Tanco in idleness. Shocked, the nuns freeze out Rev. Mother and pray she stop being cruel to Sr. Bertrille. Rev. Mother accuses Sr. Bertrille of leading a mutiny. When Sr. Jacqueline intercedes, she learns of the transfer. Señor Trazo finishes, and Sr. Bertrille again crashes through the window. Following Carlos' plan, the children fly nun kites and carry placards. Mother David, the Mother Provincial, is impressed when the whole town turns out for Sunday mass. Realizing San Tanco needs Sr. Bertrille, Rev. Mother welcomes her again. Sr. Bertrille flies joyfully among the kites. Later, as Señor Trazo repairs the window, Sr. Bertrille sneezes him off the ladder.
Sr. Bertrille is unable to fly and has dizziness and double vision. Dr. Tapia finds an ear infection that should clear up soon, but is worried about Rev. Mother, who is upset by Sr. Bertrille. Fr. Lundigan, a young psychologist, is sent to San Tanco. Sr. Bertrille's vain attempts to fly, and the nuns' concern about it, present a problem to him. Rev. Mother asks Sr. Bertrille to demonstrate her flying to Fr. Lundigan. All her effort and the nuns and children with palm fronds and roller skates fail to get Sr. Bertrille off the ground. When Sr. Ana declares Sr. Bertrille flies because she is a saint, Fr. Lundigan, to save his own sanity, decides to leave. Hoping to fly the next day, Sr. Bertrille tries to prevent this. After the car breaks down, and he is locked in his room, Fr. Lundigan concludes everyone in the convent is deranged. He escapes and writes up his notes on the plane, where he sits near a psychiatrist. As he recounts the case, sure to make medical history, Fr. Lundigan spots Sr. Bertrille flying alongside. He rips up his notes and asks about a professional discount as a patient. Later, Dr. Tapia finds Rev. Mother recovered. However, he has doubts. Then, looking into a classroom, she reports Sr. Bertrille and the children standing on their heads. Since everyone is right side up when he enters, Dr. Tapia plans to call in a specialist for Rev. Mother, who seems to have had a relapse.
Sister Bertrille/Elsie Ethrington
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