Female Catholic doctors


This is officially my first post on these forums, so…hi everyone! :slight_smile: I was just reading a different thread about people signing their name with heaps of letters following (eg. PhD) and debating which doctors are REAL doctors! I find that whole topic quite humorous because I’m a medical student (soon to be ‘Dr’), and my fiance Stu (or Atreyu on these forums) is a physics PhD student, soon to be Dr. You can imagine the stirring we give each other about who is going to be the real doctor…but of course who cares really!

Anyway, the rules say that posts shouldn’t be long so I’ll get to the point. I’m in the process of becoming a Catholic (doing RCIA classes) and I’ll be graduating at the end of next year, and getting married a few weeks later. Being from Hobart, Tasmania, I don’t know many Catholic doctors, and the ones that I do know are all male. Now and again I have major stress sessions when I think about training to be a Paediatrician, being a good wife, and being a good mother who is around to raise her children. Is there anyone out there who can reassure me that the future I envision is possible?!! Any advice would be most helpful!

God bless



St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Therese of Lisieux the three female Catholic Doctors of the Church.


Unfortunately I don’t have much reassurance for you as I am wondering too! We are both working as hard as possible towards and MD with a subspecialty in neonatology and I want to get a D.C. as well.

The way we worked it out is by figuring we can take opposite classes, so one of us is at school and the other is caring for our kids.


Haha, not that kind of doctor :smiley: Those are doctors–as in great teachers of the faith.


Get acquainted with St. Gianna Beretta Molla. She was a wife, mother, and practicing medical doctor :thumbsup:


My wife is a pediatrician and mother of three kids. Thankfully, I am a stay at home dad at this time which helps alot. Actually, my wife is a second year pediatric resident but I consider her a pediatrician already. My point is that it is possible to have it all if you plan and make sacrifices. I will tell you that if you are young enough and able navigate the natural family planning process, it is probably best not to try to have kids in residency. After an 80 hour week or a 30 hour call, you simply don’t have anything left to give. It is hard enough trying to maintain a happy marriage while in residency. The guilt of being away from your children for that many hours can be overwhelming.
Otherwise, congratulations to you and your husband!!!


My 5yo DD’s pediatrician just had her 8th child! Her husband stays at home with the kids. All of their children are in Catholic schools. I’m sure they make alot of sacrifices. Regular pediatricians don’t make the big bucks like the ones that specialize in something. I know the mom does all she can to spend time with her children on her days off. She does the carpool, occasional grocery trips, etc. Her and her husband do what they can.

Ultimately and obviously, your choice to be a professional will take you away from your children (until bi-location becomes more readily available!).

Best of luck to you both!

God bless,


I am an MD and so is my husband! We have 2 small children. Things have been very stressful at times, but not impossible as nothing is impossible with God! I am Catholic, but my husband is not and this is a bigger issue for us.

Really and truly things are ok. I live over 16 hours from my nearest family and we still manage. I am lucky in that my department is very family friendly and my call is not too terrible. Where will you be doing residency?


Hello! I am also a medical student, soon-to-be-doctor (in 2yrs). I just got married also to a non-medic (but he is Catholic–which is the most important part).

I truthfully have no idea what I am going to do with my medical career once I have kids (asap once I graduate I hope)…I am leaving it all up to God and will work out what He wants when I get there!

Good to know there are so many other Catholic doctors on these forums!


My priest’s sister is a surgeon. Not only is she a surgeon, she’s also a nun. She performs medical services for poor and uninsured people. She’s an amazing woman.


We are both working as hard as possible towards and MD with a subspecialty in neonatology and I want to get a D.C. as well.

What is a DC?

I will tell you that if you are young enough and able navigate the natural family planning process, it is probably best not to try to have kids in residency.

I will be 23 when we get married and I start working. Then 1 year of internship, 1 year of residency, and then hopefully join a training program. I don’t know where I will do my training - somewhere in Australia. When I was 17 and I started studying medicine, I just knew I really wanted to be a doctor, learn about medicine, and help sick people. Now I am still very passionate about those goals, but I now have new priorities - God, my fiance, and our future family. I am hoping to job share or train/work part-time, but I really don’t know how possible those options are in Australia.

Are any of you living in Aus, and does anyone know about job sharing opportunities?


Natlie, I have three generations of doctors (two generations of females, including my Mum) in my own strictly Catholic family. Not that I’m among them though. My granddad started off studying to be a priest, which should give you some idea that when I say strict I mean it!

It’s certainly hard, especially at the point where children come along. It doesn’t seem to have been tremendously difficult for them all to find part-time work when the kids came along though, but they did each have at least a few years of hard slog first.

No-one seems to have any problem with them keeping their medical practice in line with their faith either, eg things like not prescribing the pill or referring anyone for an abortion. But then you know that in Oz there are plenty of doctors who will :frowning:


Ask an MD a question, and he will give you a solution.

Ask a PHD a question, and he will give you 10 solutions.

The differene is in the training. Look at what the degree “Doctor of Philosophy” means. PHDs are given their degree because they have shown the ability to “make new and original thought/discovery”. In the hard sciences, a research dissertation is always required.

Medical schools almost never require any type of research. a PHD creates a type of thinking, and an MD teaches a person how to practice medicine.

Neither could live without the other. MDs would have very few, if any, pharmaceuticals or techniques without PHDs. Look at Hodgkin and Huxley; almost no neurologist MD would know much more than anatomy without their work. Without MDs, alot of PHD laboratory research would never be able to be put into practice with humans.

I do know however, that if you have a PHD in the hard sciences, you can find a job doing almost anything; management, teaching, defense contracting ect. Doing a PHD (in the hard sciences) is harder than going to medical school. Med school is 2 years of classes, and 2 years of rotations. No research, no teaching, no competetive funding and proposals.

Grad school is 2-2.5 yrs of classes, coupled with teaching, coupled with research, coupled with fighting to find funding, scientific meetings, writing publications, then 2-3 more years of straight hard core research where most things have to be constantly fine-tuned, as well as teaching, writing ect.


Just like I always tell her, PhD’s are the real doctors!!!

But to be fair, her degree is actually six years long (things are a bit different in Australia), while my PhD program has no classes and is only three to three and a half years long. And I’m a slacker; I spend all my time at the CA forums!


Have you guys checked out the Catholic Medical Assoc. site? Wonderful people involved w/ this site! And wonderful RC physicians who are alive with the faith!





Catholic Medical Association


Catholic Medical Students’ Association



A little off subject, but the website for the Medical Association of Catholic Students (MACS) at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center is beautiful! Especially the church it shows on the homepage.:cool:



Hey there, so you are from down under? My sister is going to travel over there with her choir to play in Sydney.

A D.C. is a doctorate of chiropractics. I am interested in bringing a whole view to medical care and would like to be fully established in medicine and chiropractic techniques. I think I would be able to offer a whole lot more to the patient this way.

Two other things I was considering:

Physician assistant: this seemed to be a good compromise as it is 2 years faster and has no residency requirements (unless I go into a subspecialty) but I figure I might as well go two more years for an M.D., kwim?

Doctor of Osteopathy: I was considering this as well but there are no good schools around here.


I am also considering DO school or possibly, Carribean.

The D.C. cannot perform surgery or prescribe medications, though I hear in OR they can now perform minor surgery (w/ regulators’ permission), and some states are considering allowing them to recommend OTCs. (in response to someone’s post)

(Just so that I don’t hijack this thread, I am male.)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.