Martha Livingston
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Martha Livingston

Agnes of God

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About Her

Living… in an apartment in Montreal. The walls are covered with newspapers and photos and the ground is covered with books and cigarette ash. It's like a second office, though that wasn't the plan.

Profession… psychiatrist investigating whether Sister Agnes is sane enough to stand trial. She was arrested for strangling a baby she had just given birth to, yet claims to have no memory of said baby or the birth. Dr. Livingston understands they’re getting into some sticky legal territories here. That's why her psychiatric evaluation could put a different spin on the entire case.

Interests… interviewing Mother Miriam on her knowledge of Sister Agnes's well-being. Mother Miriam, the head of Sister Agnes' convent, isn't too open to answering the doctor's questions, considering she doesn't even consider psychiatry to be a valid field. She resents Dr. Livingston because she assumes Livingston thinks she's from the Middle Ages.

Relationship Status… in a relationship that’s treading water. She’s not married and she can't have children anymore. Albert wants to get married but she doesn’t see the point of it. She’s fine on her own; she doesn’t need someone else's expectations to deal with.

Challenge… giving Agnes a fair shot at life. She has a right to know that there's a world out there filled with people who don't believe in God and aren't any worse off than her. Dr. Livingston wants her to be aware that there are “people who've gone through their entire lives without bending their knees once, to anybody. And people who fall in love and have babies and occasionally are very happy. She has a right to know that.” But the Church has kept her ignorant... 

Personality… no-nonsense, compassionate, calculating. She stopped having faith in authority figures early on: “You know when I was in the first grade my best friend was run over on the way to school, you know what the nun said?  She died because she hadn't said her morning prayers.” Yet Dr. Livingston still carries the guilt and shame of childhood. She was ugly and scrawny with buck teeth, yet it was this pretty girl that died. That’s when she first came to believe that no one had the answers. 

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