During World War II, Barny, a widow, observes soldiers in Italy as they come to occupied Saint Bernard. She works at a job as a test grader and is secretly in love with her supervisor, Sabine. Barny is faced with the decision of sending her half-Jewish child to live in the country when the Germans arrive. There she discovers Sabine's brother is in a concentration camp. Although Barny is an atheist, she chooses Leon Morin, a priest to baptize her daughter, hoping this will provide protection. The former atheist converts to Catholicism and falls in love with Leon in a classic unrequited love story.