Born into a working-class North London family in the late thirties, Katie is determined to 'do something' with her life. Her first choice is to be an actress and then -- so she can travel -- a missionary, but instead she finds herself moving across town to Poplar to become a parish worker.
It's hard work, and Katie is shocked by just how poor the East End is -- at least in Kentish Town they have shoes. But it is here that she first meets the Sisters of St John the Divine, and reluctantly finds her vocation.
Katie learns to deal with everything from breech births and eclampsia to tuberculosis and strokes. But more than this -- by spending her days and so many of her nights with the Sisters and the Eastenders, Katie finds her true home.