From St Paul, Minnesota to Vancouver Island

 on May 1, 2023

I am thrilled to find myself on Vancouver Island in the Anglican Diocese of Islands and Inlets writing this article. If I think of my journey as a mountain hike, then this is the summit I have been climbing uphill to get to for quite some time. The view is literally stunning from here. As I look out on a new vista, I trust that the trail with all of its switchbacks called my life so far has made me into a heartier and healthier person, mother, partner, friend and priest. 

St Paul, Minnesota is my place of origin. I was baptized, catechized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic faith, and it was all very rich and meaningful for me. This was so noticeable to the nuns of the parish I grew up in that they asked me to become one as well. Well, that didn’t happen. I had other dreams in mind, like becoming an artist. So off I went to study art in college only to set it aside for a long season because being colour-blind didn’t go over very well with my professors. This led me to switch colleges and try my hand at another passion: languages, particularly New Testament Greek. This in turn led me to see I was called to ministry. The path to Anglicanism was a slow and steady one that wound its way through getting married and having a family. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed living and ministering in places where I could also study the language of the culture I was immersed in: Spanish in Brooklyn, New York; Greek in Cyprus; and Arabic in Palestine. Now that I am in North Saanich, I hope to learn some of the language of the First Nations of this island and its inlets. The mutual and enriching exchange I have experienced cross-culturally has been and I hope will continue to be a vital part of my life. 


Another path I have travelled down is one of becoming a spiritual director (better described as a spiritual companion). I received training through the Haden Institute of North Carolina, with a Canadian component hosted by the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I am a fan of continuing education and stumbled upon this institute when I was looking for another way to grow spiritually and professionally. This has become a very key part of my ministry over the past several years. I wish I had done it much sooner. 

The artistic path I began to travel as a young adult broke off in two solid ways. In fact, one path proved to be very redemptive for me. In a different search for another continuing education course, I looked for a workshop that could instruct me in the art of iconography. I found the Prosopon School of Iconology based out of New York and saw that they offered one in Northeast Minneapolis. I chose this one as a way to also visit family. I was very uncertain that I could write (that is paint) an icon given my experience at college. I shared this with one of the coordinators who listened intently while I spoke. He told me he had been an art professor at that very same college after my time there, and furthermore that he was colour-blind as well! Ok! I decided I was in the right place for the right workshop to become the artist I imagined as a young adult. Dimitri, the master iconographer instructing me, looked at my icon and encouraged me to continue writing them. So I have! I have written several icons since then and will continue to do so. 

The other path I have taken with my artistic bent is into the world of textile arts. I love to weave, spin and knit with natural fibres, creating wall tapestries, garments, accessories and home decor. I am passionate about designing and experimenting with new or second-hand natural fibres and/or upcycled fabrics. With intense creative vigour and a passion for sustainable fashion and art, I created one thing after another until it became apparent that I needed to start a business. Now I am selling pieces in two gift galleries, and I will do an exhibit in Abbotsford in July 2023. 

There is more to say, but I need to pick up my knitting needles now. The sun set an hour ago. The way to relax is to wind some more yarn into the Fair Isle sweater I am knitting for my husband, Allen. This is the next best thing to kayaking, but I haven’t put my kayak into the bay yet. That will come! Woohoo!


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