Daughter's vocation



I posted the above threat earlier in regard to my 23 yr old daughter who is discerning a religious vocation.

For more info please read the original post, but if not here is the basic info:

My daughter was severly abused most of her childhood and teenage year and due to this became severley depressed for many years. As a child of 13 she decided to convert to Catholicism - I made her wait until she was 18 but she never gave up on this decision and converted in april 2011. She attributes her faith to being cure from depression.

She told me that she is not 100% sure if she wants to be a nun or get married, however she made a promise to god that if he would restore her health she would do her best to try and discover what his plan for her life was, even if that meant sacrificing marriage and family. Despite her past she has never had any trouble connecting with men and I doubt she is thinking of being a nun as a form of escape. She told me that she is simply praying about becoming a nun but also prays that if God wants her to get married, he’ll bring her the right man.

Right now she is halfway though college, she is studying to be a teacher and feels she would want to be a teacher whether she is a nun or layperson. She has made the deans list every semester, even earlier when she struggled with depression it did not affect her grades.

In my other post someone left this comment:

You’re daughter has a serious mental illness. Catholic religious orders will not accept people with serious mental illness, since they don’t last long in vocation because they can’t function on many days.

It has me a little worried and confused. My daughter is in close contact with her priest, vocation director, and a few local nuns from different orders. All of them are aware of her past abuse and depression. None of them have ever discouraged her from pursuing the possibility of a vocation due to it. They seem to think - as does she and he therapists - that the depression was due to a bad situation vs. a chemical imbalance. Her priest feels her story of recovery is a miracle and inspiration and feels she could use it to help others. However, I would feel horrible for her if after years of discernment she were turned away due to depression experienced as a teen-twenty something due to severe abuse.

I am not catholic and know little about this. Just looking for advice. Thanks.


Many saints has struggled tremendously in their teens before they made a u-turn for the better. God may use difficulties in our lives as a way of purifying our soul and mind.
Through anxiety and depression we’re most likely to be more humble afterwards.
Your daughter sounds like a saint in the growing:)
Don’t put to much into quotes like the one you posted, some people are blended with ignorance and they are awfully judgemental towards people who struggles.
As you’ve mentioned are her priest and the nuns close to her and they know her.
Rest assured that if they have a problem with her joining their order they will most likely tell her sooner rather than later.
I think its so Nice that she tells you her vocation.
I myself do not talk a lot about my vocation with my parents, it has been mentioned but that’s it. It’s not often that a life as a monk or nun is the first choice for parrents.

What kind of order is it btw?

Yours in Jesus and Mary

  • MarianCatholic


I read both posts and I think you have received some good information! I agree that your daughter is approaching the subject in a very mature manner and just exploring what path God intends for her :slight_smile:

it’s great that your daughter is doing better but the main reason I’m writing this post is to let you know that in cases similar to your daughter’s that the risk of suicide doesent decrease as the depression lifts but often the opposite. The risk of suicide often increases after the depression lifts and the sufferer regains their energy. Most people who commit suicide appear to have been rational before hand. Being a member of a religious group is not a good predictor that one won’t attempt suicide. I urge you to please, please be aware of this and listen closely to your daughter for any warning signs. I wish you both the best, I pray your daughter finds her vocation, God bless.


I read your post and the responses and was immediately struck by your loving acceptance of your daughter’s conversion and possible vocation. You are one heck of a Christian and I stand in admiration in what for many not of our Faith, would be a fearsome situation. May our Blessed Saviour give you strength and peace in standing by your daughter in her future decisions. I stand in awe of the strength of your motherhood.
Secondly I read the quoted post and believe that it lacked compassion for your feelings in the situation you face and was too simplistic in its understanding of the complex causes behind any mental “illness” or breakdown.
Mental challenges are not a life sentence and many people overcome developmental crises in what many see as almost miraculous ways.
As one wise response noted, it is best to let the authorities behind the order of your daughter’s choice decide on suitability.
All you can do is remain 100% behind your daughter and surrender your worry to the loving arms of our blessed Saviour. This surrender is often both a fearsome option and in our Faith our only rational option. May both you and your daughter find fulfillment and peace of mind in her eventual decision partnered by the wise counsels of her advisers.
Again God bless your personal strength, you are an example to us all.


Hello Mom! Hugs to you and your daughter. I wanted to reply to your post because I am also a convert, though much more recently - I admire your daughter’s wisdom, courage and persistence. I admire her mom too! I was emotionally abused as a child and have struggled somewhat with Depression (not nearly as much as your daughter seems to have struggled). I have wanted to be a nun since I was 15, long before I thought about becoming a Catholic. I have been in contact with several Monasteries and actually began the application process to one (I withdrew the application because I felt like this might not be the community where I belonged).

Here is what I know from my meager experience: Each community is different, even within the same Order (or ‘Family’), and everyone in the community is human (sometimes verrrrry human :D). An individual community might be very concerned about your daughter’s history; another community might not seem worried at all, so long as she is currently well enough to make these big decisions about her vocation.

If they are worried, it is because they want the happiness of both the young woman and the community; religious life is very joyful and peaceful but it is also physically, mentally and emotionally taxing, and they want to be sure that someone will be able to handle the life and make a healthy transfer. They may also be trying to protect the community; it is hard on everyone if someone enters with unhealed wounds or if they have learned harmful methods of dealing with difficulties.

If they don’t seem worried, this may be because they feel that the young woman has found mature ways to deal with her wounds (even though they might still be hurting) and that the Holy Spirit may genuinely be calling her to this community.

The first community that I applied to seemed very troubled by my history, but part of this may have been because I suspected but did not really admit even to myself that my past was abusive until part way through the application process. It was a very difficult thing to acknowledge because I had been trying so hard to accept my family life as normal and good, and I had to recognize that it was not-so-good. If I had made this self-discovery earlier and become more comfortable with that knowledge, they might have been less worried; but because it was still raw and confusing, they thought that I was in too much pain to enter at that time.

The second community (that I am hoping to apply to!) was not concerned at all; they saw that I had developed a mature view toward my past and thought I was just fine.

It is good that your daughter is being honest about her past with people who need to know. The community will not automatically reject her if they find out what has happened; if anything, they may be more apt to consider her because they can tell that she is being open and sincere with them.

Prayers for you and your daughter!


Hello MomofConvert. Welcome to CAF!

I, too, have a daughter contemplating a celibate vocation. For me, this is my second such child. My first will make her oblation in 3 months but my second daughter is at the discerning process. She has prayed for over a year and has come to the conclusion that she would like to live a life dedicated to a celibate apostolic life. Since she was always close to her sister, I knew before she told me where her heart and mind were. I’ve spoken with the director and told her openly of all I know about my daughter and her call and also told her of all my concerns. The director will be having many conversations with my daughter to make sure this is her call and not following in her sister’s footsteps. We are keeping an open dialogue so that all my concerns and hers are discussed and flushed out so to speak.

As you, I do not want my daughter to face heart break over having “dreams” dashed, but if the religious life is not what our daughters are called to, and they are earnestly listening to God’s will, they will know of this hopefully before we do.

As for their celibate life vs married life, our girls could most certainly attract a man and marry them…they’re gorgeous! ;):stuck_out_tongue: But we have daughters with a beautiful heart who are listening to God’s request to “marry” Him. They are hoping to foresake all others so they can devote their life to God.

God bless you MofC! It is not an easy role being a mother of one called to the religious life, but we must pray and trust in God’s will. We must also always prayer for their purity and commitment to God to stay strong!


You remind me so much of my own mom, who was Baptist. I converted at 16, and wanted to be a nun. Wanted to start my own community, in fact.

I still have the community idea on a website, but I wanted to chime in and thank you for your support of her vocation.

The Visitandines told me to ‘marry the blacksmith’. Hubby wasn’t a blacksmith at the time, but he is now.



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