Disability and Religious Life


#1

I am curious to know a general approximation of what disabilities would rule out an individual for consideration to join a religious order. I understand how general my question is nonetheless I appreciate any knowledgeable response. More specifically I am interested to know if an individual with Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 would be able to join an active mendicant order, if that be their vocation.

Love Your Brother in Christ,
James


#2

[quote="Jwallb1, post:1, topic:319213"]
I am curious to know a general approximation of what disabilities would rule out an individual for consideration to join a religious order. I understand how general my question is nonetheless I appreciate any knowledgeable response. More specifically I am interested to know if an individual with Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 would be able to join an active mendicant order, if that be their vocation.

Love Your Brother in Christ,
James

[/quote]

Hi James, I am not sure about mendicant orders. However, my pastor is an OSB who has Type 1. He seems to manage it just fine and has no problem fulfilling his priestly duties with it. I would contact specific religious orders and communities if you cannot find any more information based off of websites. Hope this helped!


#3

I don't think you should have any problem as diabetics don't have a stigma as far as I know.

Still, if you can and have the courage to do so, I would highly encourage a pancreas transplant, unless there is some complication that would make that dangerous. From what I've heard, they are safe and effective. (I would have to if I were you; there is no way in this world I could stick myself with a needle in the stomach every time I wanted to eat something and I commend you for going through with that.)


#4

[quote="ChibiViolet, post:3, topic:319213"]

Still, if you can and have the courage to do so, I would highly encourage a pancreas transplant, unless there is some complication that would make that dangerous. From what I've heard, they are safe and effective.

[/quote]

Thank you for the response and advise ChibiViolet! For most Type I Diabetics it would be safer to stick with their current therapy than getting a pancreas transplant. They are usually reserved for those diabetics with serious complications. Check out this article if you are interested in learning more: diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/transplantation/pancreas-transplantation.html

Your Brother in Christ,
James


#5

Hi, as a type-1 diabetic and a worker in the field, I’d like to clear a few things up.

Type-1 diabetics do face stigma. Not only does it single them out in a school environment, they are also isolated amongst diabetics as a group. Most people don’t know the difference between type 1 and type 2, which can be extremely frustrating to a person living with type-1. Type-2 is the disease everyone refers to and understands as diabetes, but the two types are extremely different. So much so that there is debate amongst doctors as to whether or not the name should be changed.

Type-1 diabetics account for less than 5% of all living with diabetes. Unlike type-2, you cannot control T1 with exercise and diet. Insulin injection is necessary to sustain life. You see, T1 is an auto-immune disorder in which the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. T2 is the diabetes when you get older and overweight, because all that extra weigh is shorting out your pancreas’ insulin production.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “Oh yeah, my grandma has diabetes too, but she’s fat. I thought you had to be fat to be diabetic?”

Which is a misnomer in itself, as certain people are naturally insulin resistant and may not be too overweight to develop type-2. But you can see the frustration of a kid having to grow up with all his peers thinking he somehow ate himself into a disease, especially a disease he’s had for as long as he can remember (though this is not always the case; a person can be diagnosed with type-1 at any age. The exact causes of the disease are still unknown, though there are multiple theories).

Moreover, a T1 cannot join the military, cannot own a private or commercial pilot’s license (rare exceptions have been made, at least once, anyways), may face difficulty joining the police or fire department (though these are almost always overcome-able, there are many T1 officers and firefighters), and are more likely to be harassed by security at airports over the needles they’re carrying on them. A T1 can never be an astronaut, and cannot go scuba diving.

Oh, and a last and EXTREMELY IMPORTANT POINT. Pancreas transplants ARE NOT A VIABLE MEANS. First of all, it’s not a pancreas transplant, it’s an islet cell transplant. The pancreas does a LOT more than just insulin production; except for the islet cells, diabetic’s pancreases work fine. Second of all, the likelihood of rejection is extremely high, even with DAILY IMMUNOSUPPRESSANTS. So you’re still having to manage a daily regimen, and if you screw it up your body will reject the new islet cells and you’ll be back to where you started in no time. But don’t take my word for it, just go ask your endocrinologist. Also, you should never take medical advice from a random guy on the internet, especially if it’s not some sort of medical related forum.

All this being said, TYPE-1 WILL NEVER BE A HINDRANCE TO YOUR LIFE, as long as you never let it. We all have our crosses to bear and we’re lucky enough to have a disease that’s manageable and not terminal. There’s a large network of support groups for type-1’s out there, many of which I have been involved in (I’ve worked for an organization that runs summer camp and weekend programs for kids with diabetes extensively) and I would suggest looking into something; it’s almost always a great experience. I’m disheartened you would even think having T1 would hold you back from something like a religious vocation; there are professional athletes who have T1.


#6

PS Chibi I find it comical that you don’t think you could “stab yourself in the stomach everytime you eat.” You’d be surprised the things you’d be able to accomplish if it was always a choice between life and death! Anyways, it really isn’t so bad as you think. Multiple daily injections is now an option of therapy; the now more popular therapy is an insulin pump. It makes things a lot easier for us, though some still prefer injections over the pump!


#7

Hey TimothyIgnatius do not be disheartened! I never have and never plan to let my diabetes get in the way of leaving my live! I ran cross country in high school, continue to still do races now, and am training for the half marathon at the moment. And I especially won't let it get in the way of my vocation. I have every intent on contacting the particular religious order I am discerning and visiting them over the summer. Thank you for clearing up the confusion about Type I vs Type II this is something I find myself doing very often. I brought my question to this forum, because I was curious on the whole how religious orders, especially those who beg for their subsistence, take care of their type I diabetics.

Ultimately God will provide wherever it is that He leads me.

Your Bro in Christ,
James


#8

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