Tammy Peterson receives First Holy Communion from Fr. Peter Turrone at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Toronto at the Easter Vigil, March 30, 2024. Laura Salem, In His Image Photo & Film Inc.

Peterson finds her new home in Mary

By  Sheila Nonato, Catholic Register Special
  • April 3, 2024

Cancer survivor and Canadian podcaster Tammy Peterson has chosen the confirmation name of “Mary” and says she feels like a new woman in Christ.

Peterson was confirmed at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, as part of a group of 12 catechumens, nine of whom were confirmed and three baptized as Roman Catholics at the Easter Vigil on March 30 in midtown Toronto.

“I know what brought me here. I’ve been looking for Mother Mary since I was a little kid,” Peterson, who turned 63 on March 16, told The Catholic Register.

In an interview with the Register immediately after the Easter Vigil Mass, Peterson said she wanted to explore the Bible through the Book of Proverbs.

“I’m hoping through that, people can find a relationship. The Proverbs are supposed to be something that you read to help you deepen your faith and to broaden your scope of understanding, and how to use the Bible to make your life fruitful,” she said. “I’m hoping that that can be helpful to people.”

Peterson’s husband, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, is not a Catholic but attended the Vigil and lined up during Holy Communion for a blessing from Holy Rosary’s pastor, Fr. Peter Turrone. Tammy received a low-gluten host due to having celiac disease.

After the Vigil, Jordan sat beside his wife inside the church during the interview. He said the Catholic Church’s “insistence upon the Divine nature of the mother” is something that “the West desperately needs.”

“Being female and having a voice, she’s in a position to investigate that in some depth,” he told the Register.

He said his wife was drawn to the Catholic Church because of Mother Mary and the ties of motherhood.

“Tammy loved being a mother. She loves being a grandmother, and certainly that was the best part of your life, especially when you had little kids,” Jordan noted. “I think the best part of (Tammy) came out (with) them.”

On her new calling, Tammy Peterson said: “I want to help more people to get to know God. My resolution is that if I want to do more, I need to pray more.”

Growing up in Fairview, Alta., a town of fewer than 3,000, Peterson’s parents brought her up initially in the Protestant Church. However, she stopped attending Sunday School and grew up outside of organized religion. 

She was introduced to yoga by an aunt as a child. Peterson said she realized the practice of prayer, through the Rosary, was more appealing to her.

“There’s some meditation in (yoga) but it’s not Scripture,” she said. “I read that the whole idea of meditation was supposed to be based on Scripture. That’s something that people need to know.” 

Peterson’s Confirmation sponsor, Queenie Yu, brought a Rosary to the hospital when Peterson was suffering from a rare and aggressive form of cancer, and a debilitating illness that followed after successful cancer surgery nearly five years ago. Peterson was curious about the devotion to the Rosary and Yu taught her how to pray it, joining her every morning for five weeks at Toronto General Hospital.

Yu, a Catholic convert, said the preparation to be received in full communion with the Catholic Church is like training for the Olympics.

“It’s the beginning of a new way of living,” she said.

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