Dr. Brenda Altieri
Her pursuit of a career in psychiatry began in a convent.
Brought up in a traditional Italian Catholic household with six siblings, Brenda Altieri was sent off to the Convent of St. Katharine Drexel in Philadelphia at sixteen. As a novitiate, she questioned many of the church’s teachings and rituals, leading her superiors to challenge her dedication. Despite her reservations, Altieri eventually took her vows, becoming Sister Mary Elizabeth.
During her assignment at a parish in northern New Jersey, Altieri began to consider if she could better help people through more concrete activities than meditation and prayer. After much thought, she left the order and pursued a medical degree in psychiatry.
Given her natural empathy and proclivity for nurturance, Dr. Altieri became a successful practitioner, establishing an office in Princeton, NJ. There, she first met Ed Swann who sought her treatment for a series of haunting childhood flashbacks.
In the early 2000s, she bonded with Dr. Julian Weisman, a professor of physics at nearby Princeton University, over their mutual passions for skiing and rotisserie baseball. Soon their relationship matured into more than a friendship.
After much cajoling, Weisman convinced her to collaborate with him on an academic paper relating physics and human consciousness. As their collaboration progressed, Dr. Altieri became increasingly skeptical of some of the more far-out implications.
Inside, she feared what they may discover.