Can an epileptic become a religious?

I was just wondering if someone suffering from any form of epilepsy could be accepted into a religious order? I know that good health is a standard for many orders and that it is a sign of a true vocation. Is this something that would snuff out the chances of someone becoming a religious?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

If it truly is God’s will, epilepsy won’t be a problem. St. Joseph of Cupertino had severe learning disabilities and frequently had seizures:

If one has any questions, they should ask some of the sisters of the order they’re interested in. Some orders might have different regulations regarding women desiring to enter with disabilities.

God bless!

There’s more information here:

Yes. they can, as long as their condition can be controlled. I know of one. Contact Srs. of the Lamb of God in Owensbooro, Ky. They are an active, small order and accept canidates with health issues on an individual basis. Good Luck.

My question would be - why would having epilepsy prevent a person from being accepted?

Pope John Paul II didn’t quit when he was diagnosed with Parkinsons.

Depends on the community. If you’re serious about pursuing a vocation, have a dr statement explaining what exactly you have and any triggers and interventions.

Sr Wendy of art nun fame is epileptic, and bright light can trigger her seizures. So, being a religious and epileptic is possible.

Active communities would be concerned about whether or not their work would put you under stress, and concerns about driving.



It depends on the Order. I did some research for myself awhile back and I found that most wanted to know how controlled my epilepsy was. I am sure much of this has to do with the mission of the Order as well. God bless.

Just wanted to say thanks to all for the replies. They are very helpful.

Sam H- To answer your question, I was asking because I had read on monastery websites that one of the signs of a true vocation is good health. As far as JPII goes- his illness came after his vows, so its kind of not applicable to this situation. I understand the toll illness can have on a family… I respect that monasteries have the right to choose a candidate since only they would be able to know what they could or couldn’t handle. Thank you for your encouragement though. :slight_smile:

It makes sense that if the epilepsy is controlled, the more likely it wouldn’t be a factor.

Thanks everyone for your responses. I found it also inspiring to know that Sr. Wendy suffers from epilepsy- Makes me respect her even more. Interesting too to know about St. Joseph of Cupertino. It was a blessing to read about him… Thanks!

Sr. Wendy is, indeed, a lovely person, and speaks so perceptively about art. But I don’t think you should take the fact that she is a nun as an indication whether Catholic orders will accept epeileptics or not, as she is not a Catholic nun, but Anglican.

I had no idea Sr. Wendy is Anglican! And all these years I though she was Catholic.
laughing at myself now*

Thanks paperwight66 for the info!

Sister Wendy is, in fact, neither a nun, nor an Anglican. She was originally a member of the (distinctly Roman Catholic) Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur but later left the congregation to become a consecrated virgin. Therefore she was a religious sister (not a nun) and is now a solitary rather than a religious. I’ve heard the idea that she was Anglican mentioned on several occasions, meaning that it must have gained some kind of viral status, but it isn’t true.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Wikipedia entry on Sr Wendy is very accurate for the most part. In case anyone is wondering, no, I don’t know her, but I do know someone who has spent time at Quidenham Carmel, where Sr Wendy has her hermitage.

Best wishes.

Thank you for the correct info, Mike. Serves me right for replying without double-checking! Apologies, AnneElizabeth!

No problem paperwight66. I should have double-checked too!

Thanks Mike for the information.

One reason (apart from hearing it said) that I assumed she was an Anglican nun/sister was the extremely traditional habit with wimple etc. she always wears for her tv appearances. The ND de Namur sisters who live virtually over the road from me wear the usual (Roman) Catholic sister outfit of suits or pinafore dresses (aka in the US as ‘jumpers’ I believe - which over here are sweaters)

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