Feeling very limited


#1

Hello, been a long time since I've visited these forums.
I remembered you guys being helpful about vocations, so I thought I'd come ask for advice.
You see, I'm still considering becoming a sister, but considering the following limitations I have, I don't know what community would accept me.

  1. I have a mental illness (schizo-affective disorder) so I have to take medication. Mind you, I'm perfectly fine as long as I take said medication.
  2. I can't drive (plans to remedy this some time).
  3. And finally, I don't have an education past graduating high school. (WOULD remedy this, but doesn't have much money for an education)

I'd like to believe that I can still be helpful in many ways, but I worry that's naive optimism speaking.

At this time, I want to know more about the Carmel Nuns of Little Rock, Arkansas.
littlerockcarmel.org/
(I live in Arkansas by the way)
I've spoken to them, but they haven't replied in a long time...I hope they're just busy.

I just can't figure out if I'm being foolish or not, pursuing a vocation while having these limitations.
I feel as though I should logically give up, but I want to believe there's a chance I can be a Sister one day.
What do you all think?
(and sorry for the looong post >.< )


#2

[quote="Belle777, post:1, topic:232564"]
Hello, been a long time since I've visited these forums.
I remembered you guys being helpful about vocations, so I thought I'd come ask for advice.
You see, I'm still considering becoming a sister, but considering the following limitations I have, I don't know what community would accept me.

  1. I have a mental illness (schizo-affective disorder) so I have to take medication. Mind you, I'm perfectly fine as long as I take said medication.
  2. I can't drive (plans to remedy this some time).
  3. And finally, I don't have an education past graduating high school. (WOULD remedy this, but doesn't have much money for an education)

I'd like to believe that I can still be helpful in many ways, but I worry that's naive optimism speaking.

At this time, I want to know more about the Carmel Nuns of Little Rock, Arkansas.
littlerockcarmel.org/
(I live in Arkansas by the way)
I've spoken to them, but they haven't replied in a long time...I hope they're just busy.

I just can't figure out if I'm being foolish or not, pursuing a vocation while having these limitations.
I feel as though I should logically give up, but I want to believe there's a chance I can be a Sister one day.
What do you all think?
(and sorry for the looong post >.< )

[/quote]

Belle, these two sites address your question, with the first one mentioning some religious communities to investigate. :thumbsup:

phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=106541&st=0

anunslife.org/2007/08/27/discerning-religious-life-with-persons-who-have-a-managed-mental-illness/


#3

An update! (And thanks for the links)
I've been getting e-mails from communities since using the Vision website, and I'm getting more and more hopeful that everything is going to work out.
Especially since I'm deeply considering getting a certified nursing assistant license.


#4

My dear sister in Christ, I know exactly what you are going through. I, too, suffer from an emotional/mental disorder called depression/anxiety. The disorders are often co-morbid and can present problems when the illness is not taken care of. I've tried several times to come off the medication because many of the religious orders I was in contact with told me that I would have to be off it for at least 1-3 years before they would consider me as a candidate for religious life. However, it was not a good experience for me. I would be OK for about a year and then have a relapse and I would have to go back on the medication, which is exactly what happened this past year. I am back on a dose of anti-depressants and I am happy to say that I have been symptom-free for several months.

When I had to go back on my medication, I thought that I should not be discerning religious life because I had such awful experiences from orders that were not sympathetic to people like me. They believed that if I had an illness, there was no way I could have a vocation, and for a while (August 2010-March 2011) I believed them and suppressed the desire in my heart to try to lead a secular life while still being involved in the Church. I considered other vocations like the consecrated life of a virgin or marriage, but I eventually found that neither of these vocations brought me joy when I thought about them. I thought I was destined to remain single for the rest of my life.

My new parish priest has been a big promoter of vocations in our parish and has invited a religious order of Sisters and a friar to our Church for discussions. The first time I heard the Sisters, I had a desire again to be one, but I dismissed it as a coincidence and thought it would go away in time. But when the friar came, the desire grew even deeper and I felt like my heart would jump out of my chest when I saw how devoted to God he was and how much joy he possessed by serving Him. I desired to possess that joy myself.

I am an active member on another forum called Phatmass and we have a Vocation forum there. There has been talk of the religious order called Religious Sisters of Mercy in Alma, MI. One young woman has become a candidate and is entering on August 1. The greatest inspiration for me is that she, too, has a mental disorder and must be on medication for the rest of her life but the Sisters are accepting of her! When I spoke to her about the Sisters, I became overwhelmed with joy because I'd finally found an order to which I felt called to visit AND that was merciful to those with illnesses. She told me that because they have psychiatrists and psychologists as Sisters, they are much more understanding and have the resources to deal with these kinds of problems.

(continued below)


#5

(continued)

I spoke to my parish priest yesterday (Wednesday) and he told me that I need to contact the Sisters immediately because he could sense a great longing within me to become a Sister. He also gave me the information for a Sister who could become a spiritual director. I plan to call the Sisters in the morning today and talk to their Vocation Director. Unfortunately, I don't have money yet to visit them, but I would like to keep contact through mail and phone calls.

I say all this because I hope that it inspires you to continue to discern despite your shortcomings. It may feel like a heavy burden on your heart when you long to do something but the desire is not met with approval by religious orders when you have an illness you can't get rid of. There are religious orders out there that are merciful! The RSM Sisters are not the only ones! I contacted and applied to the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus in Milwaukee and they were going to take me on as a candidate until I discovered that my heart was not in their apostolate so I voluntarily withdrew my application. Their vocation director, Sr. Immaculata, is available to any young women discerning their vocation and would love to assist you should you desire to discern with their order.

I also was in contact with a Carmelite monastery in Savannah, GA who was open to young women whose mental illness was controlled by medication. I don't know if that opportunity is still available because the prioress is no longer the same. I'm not familiar with the Little Rock Carmelites, but I urge you to contact them if you haven't already and be honest with them. I would build up a reputation with them first, and then, if you feel called to discern further, tell them of your illness, but it would be best to do in person with the Prioress. Once she knows you, she may be more willing to work things out with you or lead you to orders she knows of that could help.

God bless, my sister in Christ. If you would like, you can join the Phatmass discussion in the Vocation forum. You have to make 10 posts in Open Mic first but then you will be able to post freely wherever you like. :)


#6

Thank you so very much, DaughterofMary, that really inspired me! :'D
Perhaps I should send my info over to the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma...I found their website, so I'm reading up on them.
I should talk to them at a not so 'it's nearly 2:30am' time of course. <can't sleep for some reason

Also, I just signed up at PhatMass cuz it seems like a nice place.


#7

[quote="Belle777, post:6, topic:232564"]
Thank you so very much, DaughterofMary, that really inspired me! :'D
Perhaps I should send my info over to the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma...I found their website, so I'm reading up on them.
I should talk to them at a not so 'it's nearly 2:30am' time of course. <can't sleep for some reason

Also, I just signed up at PhatMass cuz it seems like a nice place.

[/quote]

Wonderful! Glad to hear it! I'm of the belief that just because you have an illness which you didn't ask for and cannot control does not mean that you cannot have a vocation to religious life. Remember, He will find a way if it is meant to be. No requirements of a community could ever stand in His way.

*For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.. *--Jeremiah 29:11-13

Oh, and I am registered as MaterMisericordiae at Phatmass. Looking forward to seeing your posts there!


#8

Jesus created you & He loves you!

You can do whatever He calls you to do to serve Him & others!!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark


#9

[quote="DaughterOfMary6, post:7, topic:232564"]
Wonderful! Glad to hear it! I'm of the belief that just because you have an illness which you didn't ask for and cannot control does not mean that you cannot have a vocation to religious life. Remember, He will find a way if it is meant to be. No requirements of a community could ever stand in His way.

*For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.. *--Jeremiah 29:11-13

Oh, and I am registered as MaterMisericordiae at Phatmass. Looking forward to seeing your posts there!

[/quote]

BTW, the Olivetan Benedictines are in Arkansas--Jonesboro, AK

olivben.org/

They have a nice modified habit , have grown in recent years, and do a variety of work.


#10

[quote="bigquests, post:9, topic:232564"]
BTW, the Olivetan Benedictines are in Arkansas--Jonesboro, AK

olivben.org/

They have a nice modified habit , have grown in recent years, and do a variety of work.

[/quote]

Thank you for the link, but I do not feel attracted to Benedictine spirituality. :)


#11

“Carmelite monastery in Savannah, GA”

I’m just curious as to what order that is? It gives me hope that the Sister Servants will be open to me, if a CARMELITE order is okay with it.

Prayers for you as I’m going through the same struggle of having a condition and discerning orders. I think it best to keep trying, and see what orders say.


#12

[quote="JoyfulLife, post:11, topic:232564"]
"Carmelite monastery in Savannah, GA"

I'm just curious as to what order that is? It gives me hope that the Sister Servants will be open to me, if a CARMELITE order is okay with it.

Prayers for you as I'm going through the same struggle of having a condition and discerning orders. I think it best to keep trying, and see what orders say.

[/quote]

It is the monastery located in Savannah, GA. I contacted them in 2008 when their Prioress was Sr. Joann of the Cross. However, much has changed since then as some Sisters came from Kenya to revive the order. Sr. Joann is no longer their Prioress. One of the Sisters from Kenya, Sister Mary Elizabeth Angaine, is now Superior. I have not been in contact with the Sisters since 2009, when I discerned it was not my calling to enter a cloistered order. I wasn't going to enter an order simply because they would allow me to. Sr. Joann was very kind, however, and she really encouraged me to seek out my vocation in spite of the odds. I don't know if Sr. Mary Elizabeth is as accepting as Sr. Joann was, but you could always contact her to find out. They have a new webpage at:

carmelmonastery.org/index.html

Their contact information and email address is on the webpage. Also, this is a news article on the revival of the order in 2009.

savannahnow.com/accent/2009-07-10/kenyans-lead-efforts-save-carmelite-monastery


#13

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