Problems and ASD


#1

Ok, so I really want to become a Catholic Priest and I also have ASD(autism spectrum disorder) and very high functioning, the thing is I know that is some religious orders do not accept people with autism since they have a hard time adjusting sometimes. The thing is I really want to be a Divine Word Missionary but, at the same time I do not know if having Asperger's Syndrome would disqualify since my spiritual director(a Conventual Franciscan) says that they would probably look at the whole picture and that it wouldn't be a automatic disqualification but, The Capuchins in the Midwest Province and some other orders have said otherwise.

Also the thing is that I am a high school senior taking Advanced Placement classes, no real accommodations except for speech therapy(Pathology) every three weeks once a week. No accommodations for the SAT and ACT and did pretty good. And I'm helping and taking care of my mom since my brother is away at college and my dad is working out of state and come home every three weeks usually and have really become much more responsible in the past six months.

Please give me some insight into this, especially about the Divine Word Missionaries.


#2

All I can tell you is that when I was a senior in high school I thought I wanted to be a nun. I just felt this in myself. I tried to talk to a nun about it and she asked me why. At that time I didn't have the right answer. It ended up that I got married and had a family. I know that's what God wanted for me.

Pray, pray, pray to see if God wants you to be a priest. I think He will tell you. First, pray.
I hope you get an answer soon. And then explore your options. Never give up asking God what is His will for you... you can still be a missionary.


#3

Thanks but, the thing is would I be disqualified because of my Autism?


#4

I do not have autism or ASD but I have a different mental illness -- depression. I've had it ever since I was 16 years old (14 years ago). I am discerning to be a religious Sister and I have felt very strongly that I am called to consecrated life for over 5 years now. However, discernment for me has not been without it's struggles. I've found about 4 or 5 religious communities out of hundreds that would be willing to accept me. I applied to 2 (1 in 2009 and discerned that I wasn't called there and one in 2012 and I was just informed a month ago that I was not accepted). However, I am still discerning consecrated life and I am in contact with 2 communities. One of them is already trying to work with me to make a visit either in May or June.

I just want you to know that it is going to be difficult but not impossible to discern with a mental disorder. Many communities look at mental illness as being a burden -- both financially and emotionally. Many do not want to take the risk of a candidate having a rough time because they feel it wouldn't be fair to the other members. However, it is my understanding that the main reason is that they cannot afford the medical costs. If you could find a community that would be accepting of your illness and also see that you are stable and high-functioning, that would be ideal. My best luck has been found in communities where there is a medical/healthcare apostolate because they tend to understand mental illness better and there is no stigma attached to it.

I would encourage you to get in contact with the Vocation Director of the community you are interested in and get to know them. Then, tell them about your illness so they see the whole package and not just your illness. I hope it works out. If not, I can recommend some other communities. :)


#5

I agree with DaughterOfMary6 that you really need to speak to the vocations director or equivalent) for the SVDs about this since it’s obviously their decision.

Generally however, most seminaries / orders require prospective candidates to undergo a psychological evaluation / interview as part of the application process. Given this, ASD may not be treated as an automatic disqualification but rather dependent on what the psychological evaluation reveals / concludes.


#6

[quote="DaughterOfMary6, post:4, topic:313960"]
I do not have autism or ASD but I have a different mental illness -- depression. I've had it ever since I was 16 years old (14 years ago). I am discerning to be a religious Sister and I have felt very strongly that I am called to consecrated life for over 5 years now. However, discernment for me has not been without it's struggles. I've found about 4 or 5 religious communities out of hundreds that would be willing to accept me. I applied to 2 (1 in 2009 and discerned that I wasn't called there and one in 2012 and I was just informed a month ago that I was not accepted). However, I am still discerning consecrated life and I am in contact with 2 communities. One of them is already trying to work with me to make a visit either in May or June.

I just want you to know that it is going to be difficult but not impossible to discern with a mental disorder. Many communities look at mental illness as being a burden -- both financially and emotionally. Many do not want to take the risk of a candidate having a rough time because they feel it wouldn't be fair to the other members. However, it is my understanding that the main reason is that they cannot afford the medical costs. If you could find a community that would be accepting of your illness and also see that you are stable and high-functioning, that would be ideal. My best luck has been found in communities where there is a medical/healthcare apostolate because they tend to understand mental illness better and there is no stigma attached to it.

I would encourage you to get in contact with the Vocation Director of the community you are interested in and get to know them. Then, tell them about your illness so they see the whole package and not just your illness. I hope it works out. If not, I can recommend some other communities. :)

[/quote]

The thing is, I'm not on any medication and never have been at all, sans allergy meds.


#7

If you're still in highschool I expect your ASD to improve over the next 5 years or so, especially if you live away from home and learn to manage on your own in the wider world. So I wouldn't worry too much about where you are right now.


#8

I understand that but it’s besides the point. A mental illness is a mental illness, medications or no. Unfortunately, sometimes all it takes is to mention that you have one and the community says “no.” This is where perseverance comes in. If you feel strongly that this is something you must do (like me), don’t let a few no’s stop you. You have my prayers! :thumbsup:


#9

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