Teresa Hanlon was ordained to the priesthood on April 30th, 2022 at Southminster United Church in Lethbridge, Alberta. Please enjoy her reflection and photographs from the ordination below.
Ordination Reflection by Teresa Hanlon
Teresa ordained to the priesthood, a case of “Follow me” and “Tell the others”
April 30, feast of Marie de l’Incarnation O.S. U. This celebration jointly honours my journey’s end of training for the priesthood and the faith life of a woman who felt the call to minister with Christ during her adolescence. She was obligated by her parents to marry young. Two years after her son was born, her husband died. She raised him with the help of her sister who then adopted the child at age 12 when Marie left for the convent and eventually for “New France” to start the order of Ursulines in what is now Quebec City. Her young son fought her leaving, but eventually joined a religious order himself and over the course of their lifetimes, mother and son reconciled and exchanged thousands of letters which exist to this day.
When a first bishop was appointed to her district, he attempted to sway Marie to his plans for her mission, but she held steadfast to her understanding of her vocation and the direction she received from the Holy Spirit.
April 30, 2022 – my ordination to the priesthood day! I was heartened to read such accounts of Marie de l’Incarnation–a woman who embodied Christ’s love. I appreciate that she knew her call early and eventually fulfilled it, that she was a married woman, widow, and a mother, that she worked with Indigenous peoples, learned several First Nations languages and though failed with many of the women to convince them of her beliefs and way of worship, did not hold back from continuing to work with and educate them in ways that were welcomed.
Friendship with God/de has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have taken steps of marriage and child-bearing prayerfully. My thirst for knowing more about my faith and the gift of God/de’s love grew through raising a family, RCIA teaching and team work, daily mass, training in healing prayer and spiritual direction, bible studies, university degrees, retreats, bereavement group and pastoral care ministry, and creating retreat time for others.
The call to ordination caught me off-guard because of the Catholic Church being the unmistakable answer to my prayerful request to God/de for a church while I was a college student. However, after choosing, seeing others choose, and receiving (seven times in a couple of weeks!) Melanie Weidner’s Listen for Joy “Faith” card, I got the message that I needed to trust the many undeniable signs that I was indeed called to ordination as a Roman Catholic woman.
The grief and confusion I experienced was met with the loving affirmation of a Friend who took me by the hand to follow him. I continue to trust Christ to show the way through my journey with community and spiritual direction which sources silence, nature, scripture, dreams, songs, and life experience to discern the way.
I know the loving gaze of Mother/Father God/de, and I open wide to the Holy Spirit’s gifts in order that I might fulfill the responsibility of being a priest, a servant leader. The layers of love Peter professes in John’s gospel, the tower of love Mary Magdalene is revealed to be in ancient ritual and (for many centuries) buried gospels are both examples of how trust in Christ transforms us from sometimes confusing and painful trials in life. The Risen One invites us to breakfast, calls our name. We need bring only ourselves and our inner wisdom, our ‘Yes’ to the requests, ’Follow me” and “Tell the others.”
Thank-you St. Brigid’s for being a meaningful and engaged part of my prayer, worship, and learning. I honour your spirit, fidelity, and friendship.
To watch the ordination video, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/3099928800261900/?ref=newsfeed
The panel presentation from the night before can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/Southminster.Rentals/videos/1021466711809774