The recent bishop of Turku, Mari Leppänen, 42, knows what it feels like to be excluded from one's own crowd.

When she was ordained a priest in 2012 as the first woman from the old-fashioned Lestadian, she was expelled from the movement.

The mainstream movement does not accept female priesthood.

It was a hard place.

Mari says separation was a turning point in life.

- There is a time before and a time after my life.

The most painful thing seemed to be being confined out of my own spiritual home.

- Every person hopes to be loved and accepted in their own life sphere.

Man’s deepest horror is when he becomes capped out.

When it comes to pass, it’s pretty lonely.

Consolation and strength were brought by loved ones and work.

Silence and peace.

Support came from within the church.

- I carry the experience of outsiders for the rest of my life.

It has become part of identity.

This experience has helped him to understand the mechanism of exclusion associated with spiritual and human communities.

- I recognize it sensitively.

I easily recognize people who experience externality.

I experience contact with them, he says.

- Last summer, I realized that maybe the wound of externality should not be closed.

When it remains open, sensitivity to people and God also remains.

What was Mar's childhood like in Käpylä, Helsinki, in an old-fashioned Lestadian family?

What path did Mari take when she finally decided to become a priest?

How did Mari's parents react?

Young women in particular feel alienated from the church, what does Mari think of this?

Read the full interview about Fresh Me Women 53/2020.

You can read the digital magazine here.