Sister Winifred (played by Victoria Yeates) joined BBC favourite Call the Midwife in 2014, and has become a vital part of the series ever since.
But tonight’s poignant Christmas special of the historical drama may have been the Nonnatus House nurse’s swan song.
Sister Winifred began the instalment seemingly struggling to hold on to her faith, as she was taken-aback by the heartbreaking situations for some of the children while working at an orphanage.
One little boy in particular had been born with brain damage, but rather than receive support from the other sisters, it turned out he had been isolated for months and not even put on the adoption list.
Horrified by this revelation, Sister Winifred took a keener interest in helping the child come out of his shell in his current home.
Yet as her important work continued, the nurse became even more attached to the orphanage and less to her home in Poplar.
When the managing Sister Superior on duty informed Winifred she’d have to give up working at the children’s home soon, she was devastated.
“I don’t want to go back, I want to stay here,” she revealed.
“We must go where we are called,” the Sister replied bluntly, but Winifred pushed forward.
Call the Midwife 2018: Sister Winifred could be exiting the programme (Image: BBC)
Call the Midwife 2018: The heart-wrenching special was a poignant reminder of Barbara Hereward too (Image: BBC)
I don’t want to go back, I want to stay here
“With respect,” she continued in front of a table full of stunned nuns. “There’s going where we are called by God, and where we are told to go by human beings.”
Embarking on a spiritual speech to the younger nurse, the older Sister finished by advising her: “You must embrace the quarrel, the quarrel will lead us to the answer.”
But Winifred was holding strong, and directly disobeyed her superior.
“Well I don’t care who’s calling me,” the character declared. “I’m staying here.”
Luckily, Winifred’s wish paid off when the managing sister was finally awarded the title of next official Mother Superior.
Call the Midwife 2018: The instalment was also a preview for season eight next year (Image: BBC)
Unhappy with the result, the new Mother Superior said to the church: “You have made your will known, I am to serve you as your new Mother Superior. May I come to accept it, with His grace.”
“I trust Sister Winifred will not refuse my request for her to stay here,” the nun suddenly declared, and the red-head was clearly delighted with her new project.
“We will arrange for two new Sisters to join you in Poplar, in due course,” the superior nun revealed.
But will Winifred ever return to Nonnatus House? Or has she left Trixie Franklin (Helen George) and the others for good? Fans will have to wait to find out when season eight hits screens next year.
Call the Midwife season eight returns to BBC One in January.