In the long months of Tammy Peterson’s ordeal, marked by painful physical suffering, Jordan Peterson’s wife found that the daily practice of the Rosary, discovered during a hospital stay, became a sanctuary from which she drew comfort and the strength to keep her gaze on Christ.
NCR—The daily practice of the Rosary is not always easy to observe for many Catholics, as it requires time, patience and prolonged immersion in the implacable silence of interiority. This is indeed no easy task in a world of noise, entertainment and immediacy.
Yet, it was through this demanding heart-to-heart devotion to God through the Virgin Mary that Tammy Peterson first discovered the restorative power of divine love. In 2019, she was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of kidney cancer, which, statistically, she should not have survived.
In the long months of her ordeal, marked by painful physical suffering, the daily practice of the Rosary, discovered during a hospital stay, became a sanctuary from which she drew comfort and the strength to keep her gaze on Christ. Her unexplained healing following the prayers of a novena provided by a Catholic priest led her to embark on a journey of conversion that will culminate in her confirmation at Easter 2024.
The 58-year-old wife of renowned Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson has made a name for herself thanks to her YouTube podcast, launched in 2022, in which she tackles the major challenges of our time through the lens of human sciences and biblical symbolism.
A writer for the National Catholic Register sat down with her on the sidelines of the first Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) forum in London, an event bringing together leading political and media figures. The ARC was co-founded by Jordan Peterson, with the aim of creating a large international consortium to confront the West’s identity crisis and build an alternative to the “apocalyptic view” of the future.
You’ve just made public during this ARC gathering that you will soon be received into the Catholic Church. How did you engage in this spiritual journey?
I’m currently following a catechism course to be received into the Catholic Church at Easter in Toronto. I was baptized a Protestant when I was a baby. I went to church until I was about 12 years old, and then I stopped going. My church, the United Church of Canada, has gone very woke; some of their churches even fly rainbow flags.
When I had children, I wanted to baptize them, to go back to church, but I didn’t insist; it didn’t happen. I know that’s my own failing, but that’s how it went. My daughter [Mikhalia Peterson] has come to faith as a grown-up, and I’m grateful for that because that’s definitely my case, too, and I imagine the rest of my family will follow. I was initially drawn to Catholicism because my great-grandmother was a Polish Catholic.
I found that about her when I was sick in 2019 — my cousin sent me a rosary and said that it was my great-grandmother’s. I thought it was a great sign. I must say that, in my quest for God, I initially hesitated between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. I had doubts about the state of the Catholic Church. I wondered how healthy it was at this time in history and if the Orthodox faith was somehow more solid. It probably took me a year or two to discern. I’ve been praying the Rosary for a couple of years and have enjoyed it. I notice that my day always goes better when I do it.
I met with a Toronto teacher who has a 51-year experience and is speaking out against gender ideology and all the bad ideologies that are taught in schools. She told me about a good church close by my house, and that’s where I met with a good priest who accepted to accompany me.
So I decided that I would go through it [catechesis] and to go to Mass. I want to know everything. I want to know the meaning of every prayer, of the liturgy. For now, I’m just a bit confused, because I’m not familiar with all this; I just have to be patient. But so far, I don’t have any trouble with lessons. I agree with it all….
What was the triggering point of your spiritual quest?
When I became sick, I was told that I only had a few months to live. I came home to see my son and I told him. When I saw the grief on his face, the grief in his eyes, I realized that, for him, to lose his mother was a profound loss, much more than I would have imagined. I didn’t hold my own life as precious as he held it. And in that moment of realization, of seeing that in him, I could physically feel all kind of cynicism and self-doubt lifted off my shoulders. I felt filled with God’s love for the first time in my life. And I felt completely at peace. I wouldn’t say that I’ve felt completely at peace ever since; life is not always easy, but I have strived to keep this inner peace through prayer. I’ve practiced self-reflections and examination in order to try to recognize when self-will is getting the best of me again. And I pray to be able to get on my knees, and it works. And then I move forward that way, just doing the next great thing. And that is a so much better way to live, that I’m now completely convinced of the faith. I’m convinced of the… read full interview here