“One of the few things I know about writing is this:
spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it,
all, right away, every time…
give it, give it all, give it now.”
~~ Annie Dillard
My name is Marie-Louise Ternier. Christmas Day 2014 began my 60th year (no, not my 60th birthday, my 59th!). To mark this milestone I began writing this blog. While for many years I wrote for print publication (2 books and a monthly column in the Prairie Messenger — former Catholic weekly published by St. Peter’s Press, Muenster), this was my first attempt at online writing. I try to post at least a couple times a month, chronicling musings—events—lessons to ponder, learn and celebrate in this season of grace. Thank you for taking time and effort to read my ramblings.
This blog has now been online for nearly seven years. I never thought I’d keep it up this long! The writing has given me much joy and satisfaction, and your comments (mostly private) have been most encouraging. But the time has come to take a long break.
But now Covid-19 has dried up my inner writing reservoir like nothing ever has before. As the parish priest of two churches on the Canadian prairies I am navigating too much new territory, balancing too many precarious decisions, and suffering seriously from the social isolation away from real-life interactions with my flock. The tiny droplets of creative energy entering my exhausted spirit need to be spent on my parish ministry. You will still find the odd homily I plan to post, and if lucky the odd blog reflection. Thank you for your support, your faithful reading of my ramblings and sermons. I hope and pray that my writing might resume once our world has found a new normal.
Be safe and healthy; may God be with us all as we continue to live with the ever-present virus in our midst.
WHO AM I?
I was born and raised in the Netherlands. As a young adult I spent considerable time in the Taizé-community in the Burgundy region of France and in the l’Arche community north of Paris. While on an adventuresome trip through Canada, nobody warned me about bachelor farmers to whom you could lose your heart — too late :). I met Jim on the Saskatchewan prairies, a market gardener and a man of the land. We married in 1979 and raised three children in a simple back-to-the-land lifestyle. I am the proud mother of David, Daniel & Rachelle, mother-in-law to Kathryn and Candace, and a happy Oma to Kiana, Marika & Sakura.
I have a Masters in Divinity and extensive training in spiritual direction. My ministry has included leading retreats & workshops, preaching and speaking at conferences and various events, usually with some type of church connection. I have been a freelance writer for Catholic publications, and have published two books. I have worked in diocesan and parish ministry, in ecumenical dialogues and ministry, and have been coordinating an ecumenical network of women in ministry in the Saskatoon area for about twelve years now. Since 2005 Jim and I live in Humboldt, SK, where Jim is associated with St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster as their gardener, growing food for the Abbey kitchen and seed for his company Prairie Garden Seeds. As Jim is approaching retirement, our daughter Rachelle is well underway to take over her Dad’s organic garden seed business, an ambition of which we are mighty proud.
My ecumenical exposure and involvement is extensive. Raised in the Catholic tradition, I consider myself a denominational “hybrid,” having been shaped by the strengths and gifts of various Christian traditions. About four years ago I felt called to join the Anglican Church of Canada. I was ordained a deacon on Pentecost 2017, and a priest on the Feast of St. Andrew, November 30, 2017. In January 2017 I became the pastoral minister for two parishes (Anglican & Lutheran) in a small Canadian prairie town where I still am today. Needless to say, 2017 was a monumental year of change generously splattered with tremendous joy and gratitude. This year of change was capped by a two-week pilgrimage to the Holy Land with my Anglican bishop and 18 of my Anglican clergy colleagues. You can find several blog reflections on this experience under February-March-April 2018. So given all this, it’s certainly downhill from here:)
And yet … downhill is not quite how it has all turned out. While leaving my beloved RC church at first felt like being asked to sacrifice my Isaac, our gracious God has returned blessings in abundance. Looking at the past 6-7 years, I am clearly in the business of ecclesial cross-pollination (to borrow a term from my seed-loving husband). I have discovered that there is a spiritual belonging that goes far beyond carrying an institutional membership card. My Catholic heritage and spirituality have gone with me into the Anglican and Lutheran expressions of our Christian faith. Pope Francis remains an inspiration whose words I share in my Sunday sermons. I am a member of ARC Canada, the national Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue. Catholic and Evangelical Christians seek me out for spiritual direction. And last but not least, I have been recruited as the first ecumenical chaplain at St. Peter’s College in Muenster, with one of the Benedictine monks as my teammate. I stand in awe as my joy and gratitude spill over. It is true, when we surrender all to God, God blesses our sacrificial gift beyond measure. God truly is faithful. All this and so much more affirm God’s voice and God’s will as having called me into pastoral and priestly ministry: I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) Deo gratia!
Steeped in Scripture to guide the quality of my daily presence with all I meet, I seek to grow more fully into the person God is calling me to become. My own life challenges continue to teach me that we face hardships and crises best by grounding ourselves in a Power greater than ourselves, by strengthening our resiliency and by seeking help and guidance from others.
Please stop by often and enjoy these musings on life and faith, church and garden, grandparenting and ministry, writing and playing, celebrating, learning and praying.
In mid-October 2022 I was interviewed by Jenny Connelly for her Podcast series Wide Open Spaces on the subject of women’s ordination.
Visit Prairie Encounters to learn more about me.