Problems with discernment


I really need prayers. I recently was rediagnosed with depression and I am on medication for the umpteenth time in 11 years. I was diagnosed at 16, and I’ve fought stigma since then. When I had a reversion to the Church in 2007, I began to discern religious life and fully came to realize that there was something deep in my soul that longed to serve God faithfully and give Him my undivided attention. Reading books about the saints fueled this desire and made it stronger. I sought the help of a spiritual director, but could not find one until January 2009, however, I did not benefit very much from his counsel and decided to end our meetings. I have not been able to find another one since (we have a lack of resources in our diocese, sadly).

I’ve contacted several religious communities since first discerning the call, and I have had some pretty awful experiences relating to communities not being understanding about my condition. Unfortunately, I feel that I am destined to be excluded from religious life because of an illness that requires me to be on medication for the rest of my life. I can function fine on it, but they do not understand that. I’ve had the most trouble with cloistered communities.

I know I have no right to a religious vocation, and I’ve tried to put this thought of religious life out of my head, but no matter how long I try to ignore it, it inevitably comes back. I unofficially “ended” my discernment because I was tired of getting the same response from communities that I’m attracted to. I started trying to figure out if there are any Third Orders in my area that I can join in the future and I’ve found a few, so I may decide to go that route, but it’s not the same. How can I convince myself that God is not calling me to religious life? I’ve read countless articles saying that the desire has to be matched with a community willing to accept one as a candidate. I don’t have that.

Has anyone dealt with this before? How did you move on from discernment? I appreciate any advice you can give. :blush:


Hello DaughterofMary,

There are religious that have depression and take medication as you do. That being said, some orders do have different requirements than others (e.g. the age of the candidate).

If you want to pm me, I'll try and help you as much as I can. However the next two days I will be very busy, so I can't guarantee a response until mid-week.

With love in Jesus and Mary,



Dear DaughterofMary6 I am so sorry for your disappointment with the convents.

I hope you don't mind me saying so but have you told the following convents what you are telling us?

Do they explain why -- if not just ask them to explain why they won't accept someone taking antidepressants?

Don't forget to Pray (even though you are disappointed) and we are Praying for and with you also.

DaughterofMary6 I believe you were the first one who mentioned to me about reading "I believe in love: a personal retreat on the teachings of St. Therese of Lisieux" by: Fr. Jean C.J. d'Elbee...Do you recall the words on carrying/bearing your Cross? Could it be that this is carrying your Cross?

My dear friend don't forget you are not alone I'm not too certain but I think that St. Therese of Lisieux had a mental nervous break down.

Didn't her sister (Leonie Martin) Sr. Francoise-Therese suffer from depression?

A few books that might be helpful

" Prayers for surviving depression" by: Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, F.S.P.

Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, F.S.P. (bipolar)

" Protect us all from anxiety: Meditations for the depressed" by: Fr. William Burke

Fr. William Burke (depression)

An article on Fr. Marcellus Earl, O.C.S.O. (bipolar)

Praying to St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Dympha, St. Jude, St. Rita, St. Gregory the Wonder Worker, and St. philomena. Amen.

My dear friend you may or may not know this but I thank God that he has sent you--you have helped me and so many people.

God bless you,


I also was sorry to read that you have had some not so good experiences from some religious life enquiries. And do not be afraid, not one person actually deserves a religious vocation. God calls to religious life whomsoever He wills. Often this is mystery, a complete mystery to us. He calls the likely and He also calls the most unlikely. I know one young man that all inthe parish, me included, thought that from every angle he would enter the priesthood. He was an outstanding young man and a most devout young man. He never did and is now married. When we expressed our total surprise when he announced his engagement and we confessed we had him in the priesthood, he shared with us that he had never ever felt called to the priesthood, rather to marriage. If God wants you in religious life and your heart's desire is to do what God wants or invites you to as your vocation, then in religious life you will one day find yourself.
Pray daily about it and ask God to show you the vocation He may be inviting you to even if it is not religious life. Mind you, it might be religious life.
Are you able to seek out a spiritual director to guide and support you at this difficult time? I am a great believer in good and sound spiritual direction and it has helped me through many a difficult time and when I think about it, I dont know how quite I would have got through some of the experiences I did without spiritual direction. And if you don't have a director, then pray daily for a good one.



Continued Prayers for your discernement. Amen.


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