Bishop Victoria Matthews of Edmonton returned to active ministry in January after seven months of medical leave due to cancer.
Her time away from the rigours of running a busy diocese was one of “reflection and healing,” she said in a letter posted on the diocesan Web site.
In a lengthy interview with Edmonton Journal, Bishop Matthews talked about insights she gained about life and death from her battle with breast cancer. She remarked in jest that after losing her hair to chemotherapy she had hoped “for red curls and I got grey straight.” Now cancer-free, she said that her recovery was five months earlier than expected.
Bishop Matthews discovered she had breast cancer last May, only days before the meeting of General Synod, where she would have been the first woman nominee for primate (national archbishop) in the Anglican Communion. She withdrew from the primatial election and went into treatment (including surgery) right away.
Asked if she would consider running again, Bishop Matthews said, “One of the gifts of cancer is that your priorities change, so it’s not even something I think about. It’s not on the radar screen. I’m not a lady-in-waiting, waiting for some magical job to come before me. I’m here to live my life.”