As much as Sister Evangelina (played admirably by Pam Ferris) has established herself as a forthright and dedicated professional at Nonnatus House, she is just as much a caring, religious woman that can be shaken when a moment of sadness overcomes her. This doesn’t make Sister Evangelina appear weak; rather, it humanizes her greatly.
Apart from Sister Evangelina’s strong personality traits, Ferris finds the character’s journey and subsequent accomplishments the most fascinating.
“I find her very moving because she’s a tough ol’ boot, and is happy to criticize. But she’s not just a tough ol’ boot,” said Ferris of Sister Evangelina while in conversation with the Los Angeles Times. “If we go back in time, she started forging her career, a medical career, at a time when women didn’t have any possibilities. But somehow she’s carved out a professional life for herself where she’s good at it. She exercises it daily.”
Continued Ferris: “She has no personal reward aside from job satisfaction. And it works. I think that’s a very successful woman, considering the options that were available to her. If she’s about 60 at the time of the series, she was born in a 1900s world. There were no female doctors. You couldn’t become a female doctor so she did the next best thing. And she’s autonomous. Not many woman could be autonomous.”
Having been a working actress since 1971, it’s easy to assume that Ferris has experienced a little bit of everything on-screen and that not much would surprise her nowadays. However, she admitted to the Los Angeles Times that “Call the Midwife” did open her eyes to one very important aspect of life: the beginning of it.
“Well, I’ve never had children so I was able to learn a lot about the birth process that I otherwise didn’t know,” relayed Ferris. “I feel fully qualified to deliver anybody’s plastic baby. So, readers, if you’re having a plastic baby, call on me! But, yes, I’ve learned a heck of a lot about it, really. It’s a pretty obvious thing, but it’s a bit mind-expanding to think each one of us are here as a result of thousands of historical, successful couplings – successful sexual couplings. The unsuccessful ones, we don’t know about! But the successful ones have ended up with little tiny babies. You can’t get more fundamental than that.”
On this week’s “Call the Midwife” (Wednesday at 9pm ET/6pm PT): The maternity home sees two school friends reunited and their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected way. Elsewhere, Barbara and Sister Mary Cynthia team up to implement a revolutionary technique on their bedsore patient before it is discovered that it is his steadfast wife who is the one most in need of care.