For 18 years Maria del Carmen Tapia was a "numerary" (full member) of Opus Dei and a major superior of the Women's Branch for much of it. She describes what she calls the making and unmaking of a fanatic. There is: the devious recruitment; the forced estrangement from her family; the indoctrination; life in the "Golden Cage" of Opus Dei's governing centre in Rome; her years as head of the women's section in Venezuela; her sudden recall to Rome where for seven months she was held a virtual prisoner; and the reprisals after she left the organization.
Maria del Carmen Tapia was born in Spain in 1925 and joined Opus Dei in 1948. She works in the systemwide office of the Education Abroad Program of the University of California in Santa Barbara.