When an angry mother shows up at the convent and informs the mother superior that one of her nuns is having an affair with her husband an investigation ensues, but reveals nothing.
The prioress unhappy with the mother superior’s dealing with the matter, prompts the community to elect a new mother. Once elected the new mother superior Maria, undertakes radical changes to the way things are run in the convent. However, Maria is implicated in the accusation of sexual wrongdoings. When Lutgard, Maria’s closest confidant leaves the convent and commits suicide, the cruelty, sadism and torture that has been a way of life sets the nuns against each other.