Tonight’s episode of Call the Midwife was an emotional one for Sister Evangelina. When a piece of advice had serious consequences for one newborn, she questioned her skills as a midwife and her faith was shaken. The upsetting instalment ended with the nun packing her bags and leaving Nonnatus for a long stint away from Poplar.
“I want to ask permission to go away, for six months at least,” Evangelina told Sister Julienne, adding: “I need to be somewhere where the only being I can speak to is a higher one. I’ve got so wrapped up in my work I’ve forgotten my calling.”
Evangelina, who is played by Pam Ferris, will be living in silence with enclosed order The Sisters of the Blessed Infant Christ. She hinted at a return – “I will come back, if that’s what he wants” – but might this be the last we see of the no-nonsense nun?
This certainly isn’t the first time one of the Nonnatus nuns or nurses has left and returned safe and sound. Cynthia went to the Mother House after her religious realisation but returned to her roots soon after, while Chummy departed for Africa but eventually gravitated home.
However, leaving Nonnatus does often spell serious change.
Sister Bernadette left the house when she was suffering from tuberculosis – and returned as Shelagh, having left the order. Jenny Lee headed to the Mother House for two episodes in series three, only to leave the drama for good episodes later. And Chummy left for the mother and baby home last series. It wasn’t a dramatic farewell but, while her husband PC Noakes is still a regular fixture, Chummy has been noticeably absent since…
I think we can assume this won’t be the last of Sister Evangelina, but when we see her again – and what she’s like on her return – remains to be seen.
One thing’s for sure, the events of tonight’s episode have had a serious impact.
“As Sister Evangelina gets older she feels her powers starting to fade, and she’s just as intolerant of her own mistakes as she has always been of others. This gives her some difficult times,” says Pam Ferris, adding: “The consequences can be serious.”
Call the Midwife continues on Sunday at 9:00pm on BBC1