Elizabeth Alice Wahl was born on January 16, 1924 to Arthur and Romana Wahl in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The eldest of four children, she grew up surrounded by the tools of her father's construction trade and graduated from Cathedral High School in 1941 before enrolling at the nearby College of St. Benedict. As the names of the town and schools suggest, Wahl was raised in a region with a strong sense of Roman Catholic identity and she was herself a practicing Catholic throughout her life.

The College of St. Benedict provided the inspiration and setting for Wahl's early fiction. She regularly contributed stories to the quarterly student magazine and began work on a loosely autobiographical novel. She also became a favorite …

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Nelson, Cassandra. "Betty Wahl". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 June 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=12216, accessed 06 July 2015.]