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Sister Frances O.S.R.N is introduced as a novice in the 2018 Christmas Special, after taking her vows is sent to Nonnatus House alongside Sister Hilda, as replacements for Sister Winifred and Sister Mary Cynthia. She is played by Ella Bruccoleri.

Biography[]

Pre Series[]

Sister Frances was born into a middle class family, at one point her uncle was mayor of the place they lived. At one point her cousin ended up catching ringworm making her uncle and aunt furious. Growing up she was a shy child and froze when she was meant to be the narrator of the nativity play. When she first went to school she clung onto her mothers knees so tightly she needed to be prized off. On another occasion she was meant to have her smallpox injection but hid in a cupboard and injured her foot when in there, she needed to have a tetanus jab on top of the smallpox one and because she waited to have her jab her arm ached so much that she couldn’t go swimming with the other children, looking back she thought that was god sending her a message. Sister Frances was not like most girls of her age, she decided to enter a convent age seventeen and began spiritual and midwifery studies under Sister Hilda.

Series 8[]

Sister Frances first appears in the 2018 Christmas Special. She is first seen at the Mother House asking Sister Hilda if there's any sign of the minibus bringing Sister Julienne, Sister Winifred, and Sister Mildred as well as four Chinese orphans, saying she's supposed to help when the Chinese babies arrive, but she's also been told to do her spirtual reading. Sister Hilda asks her by whom, and Sister Frances says "By you, Sister" to which Sister Hilda responds "Well, heads will obviously roll if I'm disobeyed", and the two of them laugh. Later, Sister Winifred finds a boy who is kept separate from the other children. Sister Frances explains that the boy is called Neil, and he was brain-damaged at birth due to lack of oxygen and has to be spoon-fed. At the end of the episode, Sister Mildred is elected the new Mother Superior, and requests that Sister Winifred remain at the Mother House to work with the children and tells Sister Julienne that two new Sisters will join her her in Poplar in due course.

In S08E01, Sister Frances, along with 3 other novices, are seen at the Mother House church taking their life vows. Shortly after this (and wearing her new habit that still has a pin in the hem), Mother Mildred tells her that she will be going to Nonnatus House with Sister Hilda. She is nervous and unsure if she is experienced enough to live out this calling. During her first week at Nonnatus House, she and Valerie Dyer help a young model, Cath Hindman, who has undergone an abortion - then illegal in the United Kingdom - and is now very sick. After Cath passes the foetus, Sister Julienne goes with her to the hospital, and Sister Frances and Valerie clean the bathroom floor.

In S08E05 Sister Julienne asked Sister Frances to run a class on how to bath a baby. Sister Frances admits that she is terrified of public speaking. When the class starts she looks exceptionally nervous but plucks up the courage to begin the lesson. Once she has started calms down and the class is a success.

In S08E07, Mother Mildred assigns Sister Frances to attend her first solo delivery. In spite of her lack of confidence, Sister Frances successfully delivers a healthy baby girl. After this, Sister Frances begins to grow in confidence.

In S08E08, Sister Frances and Sister Monica Joan track down Cath Hindman and persuade her to go to court and give evidence against Valerie's grandmother, Elsie, who was responsible for a number of back-street abortions, including Cath's, and one that resulted in the death of Trixie's friend, Jeannie. After Cath gave her evidence, Elsie pled guilty and was jailed for six years.

Series 9[]

In series 9 Sister Frances and Fred Buckle find a new born baby abandoned in the dustbin. The baby is named Primrose by them, she is determined to stay with the baby until they find the mother. When a woman comes forward donating supplies Sister Frances works out that the woman is Primrose’s mother based on the fact she was lactating and knew the dustbin detail. Despite her connection to Primrose, Sister Frances allows Mother Mildred and Trixie to see the case through where it is revealed the mother is named Brenda and she is taken back to live at the mother house.

When Sister Julienne fears for the future of Nonnatus House in Poplar, she offers to take on four trainee doctors. One being doctor named Kevin McNulty. When Sister Frances has to offer insulin injections to diabetic Albert Calthorpe, it is his wife Grace that that catches her eye, Grace having to deal with her daughters family moving in with her as well as looking after her mother who simply couldn’t live alone anymore. Grace is rather dismissive and standoffish around Sister Frances but she is told not to take it personally as women around in the blitz often are more self-sufficient. In the end when Grace is hospitalised with fibroids Sister Frances decides enough is enough and starts teaching Albert how to do his own injections, secures a place at a day centre for her mother and assistance with her laundry, acquires a home help for Grace herself and sends her daughter home to look after herself for a change.

Kevin would return a few months later and the two would become good friends. When Sister Frances suffers from bad period Kevin offers her pethidine which helps her. The two team up to help deliver the baby of a woman named Yvonne, when she leaves the room Kevin has done an episiotomy and Sister Frances gets everything under control. She later says it was an unnecessary risk she wouldn’t have taken. When the board of health threatens to kick the midwives out of Nonnatus house they decide to collect a petition and they get Trixie to speak to them which secures them use of Nonnatus House.  

Series 10[]

In Series 10 Sister Frances really begins to come into her own, when Nonnatus house plans to join forces with a private clinic called the Lady Emily Sister Hilda is given permission to design three new potential habits for the nuns. Sister Frances is not fond of the idea, she is made to model a pinafore dress which she dislikes as she hates showing her knees, saying it was one of the reasons she became a nun.

Luckily for her Mother Mildred rejects all three habits and they are back to square one. At the clinic Sister Frances meets a woman named Jacinta O’Malley who is giving her baby up for adoption. Her husband Dessy is always away so she decided to cheat on him and the pregnancy was the result, Sister Frances helps her through it after getting off on the wrong foot initially. In passing Jacinta mention how they’re the same age but on completely different paths, Sister Frances confides in Sister Monica Joan. She is worried that since she is so other, having joined the convent at seventeen before the Beatles or the pill that she couldn’t really understand her patients. Sister Hilda offers to help her with this, her solution being gossip magazines which Sister Frances begins reading. When Jacinta’s husband returns ahead of schedule and it looks like he might get violent Sister Frances sends him out of the room and tells him that while she might have betrayed him, she is still a good woman who tries to do the best for her family. In the end Jacinta gives birth to a little boy, who Dessy learns to love. Sister Julienne when finding out about the magazines allows her to read one a week so long as she does so in the parlour.

In S10 E03 Sister Frances must be seen by the dentist, often being the midwife that gets ill the most. Unfortunately the hospital Sister Julienne had been speaking with turned out to be doing illegal abortions leading to a termination of the partnership, instead Nonnatus begins a training program for pupil midwives.

In S10 E06 Nurse Anderson and herself where called to attend to a woman named Manju Chawla who delivered the baby with no midwife and nearly died as a result. Sister Frances notes that the Asian mothers of the community often don’t come to them, so she decides to solve those problems by offering evening classes just for the Asian mothers for both parties to learn about each other, she gets permission from Sister Julienne so long as she can find a way to fund them long term. The classes go well. In S10 E07 Sister Frances delivers a baby in Lisbon buildings, she spends the night with the mother Doreen Norris and a rat climbs into bed with the baby. Sister Frances who was told to dispose of the rat takes it to Violet Buckle who is horrified. But the Sister asserts something needs to be done about the housing, in the end the owner Matthew Aylward decides that it was time to change the living conditions.

Series 11[]

In the 2021 Christmas special we find out that Sister Frances was born in the breech position and that it was the only one in her life (other than training) that she has been involved with. On Christmas day she is called out to woman Susan Chu who’s baby is breech and she delivers the baby safely.

In S11 E01 Sister Frances catches chicken pox and is put in solitary confinement, she moans it is always her that catches every disease going. When unwell, Nancy Corrigan goes to visit her making a scrapbook for her daughter who thinks is her sister Colette, who’s in foster care as Nancy works. She is unhappy with the scrapbook as it all underlines a great big lie, Sister Frances encourages Nancy to tell Colette the truth which she does and Colette takes it very well. In S11 E03 Sister Frances is helping at a cervical screening test, when a woman named Janis Cowper shows up she gives cause for worry and it is revealed she has cervical cancer, luckily she has a good chance of survival but her whole womb would need to be cut out and she wants children. Sister Frances can’t help but think it should have been her, a nun with no need for reproductive organs but Patrick Turner something like that shouldn’t happen to anyone. In the end Janis decides to look to the future beyond children and decides to train as a hairdresser.

Nancy Corrigan is put on the district roster for the first time and the two go to the men’s tuberculosis hospital. Sister Frances who was once “green as grass” has now become the old hand to Nancy. A man named Albert Huntley is nursed by them and soon dies. When Nancy meets a man named Bernard, a meths drinker with gangrene he is taken to hospital and soon dies. Nancy is saddened she is the only one grieving him to which Sister Frances says she isn’t.

Soon after the two are asked to give a sex education class to girls who have started their periods as they’re the youngest two on staff and more relatable to the girls. The talk goes well and they offer the girls to write down questions, most are standard like do dogs go to heaven and what happens to the egg shells (as the sperm fertilises the egg) which has the pair in hysterics, but one question is how to talk to the NSPCC, in the end a girl called Deborah comes forward and reveals her mother is abusive. Deborah and her brother are soon brought to safety.

In S11E07, Sister Frances finds herself caring for an underaged mother named Carole. When Carole collapses, she is found to be pregnant again. Carole soon goes into premature labour and gives birth. Sadly, in S11E08, Carole is told her baby was stillborn. Sister Frances later tells the nurse that they have a long standing tradition where a baby who never got a chance to live can go in the coffin of someone who has died so they can have someone to look after them even in death. During these events, a train derailment rocks the community. A woman named Pauline Brettell, whose mother died in the crash, arrives at Nonnatus House with Sister Julienne's blood-stained cap and wimple which she had used as a tourniquet to try and help her. After Sister Frances tells her about what happened to Carole's baby, Pauline says the baby can go in her mother's coffin with her as she loved babies more than anything.

Series 12[]

In the 2022 Christmas Special, Sister Frances has had to take on extra calls to cover for both Sister Hilda, who has returned to the Mother House, and Sister Julienne, who is still recovering from injuries sustained in the train crash. During the course of the episode she plays a game with the children who try to correctly guess what her name was before she became a nun. During one call-out, she tends to a woman who appears to speak very little English. Although the woman's child is delivered successfully, complications with the placenta lead to Sister Frances telephoning Nonnatus House for additional help. Lucille answers, but whilst riding back to her patient, Sister Frances falls off her bike and injures her shoulder. At the end of the episode, Sister Julienne sends Sister Frances to Chichester to recuperate. Before she leaves, she tells the children her given name is Rosemary.

Trivia[]

  • In S08E05, Sister Frances reveals she's had a fear of public speaking since the age of seven - she was playing the narrator in the Nativity play, and she froze when the Wise Men entered the stable.
  • In S10E01 Sister Frances says she hates showing her knees, going as far as to saying it was one of the reasons she became a nun.
  • In the 2020 Christmas Special, we learn Sister Frances is afraid of clowns.
  • In the 2021 Christmas special we find out she was born in the breeched position.
  • In the 2022 Christmas special she reveals that her birth name is Rosemary.
  • Sister Frances slept in the room that previously belonged to Sister Winifred who departed shortly before her arrival.
  • Ella Bruccoleri confirmed she had left the show on her Instagram on December 29th, 2022

Gallery[]

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