Psychological Exam for Religious Life

Hello friends,

I would like to ask you all for advice.

Many years ago, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I became very ill. I was lost and suffering. My levels of both disorders was high, and I could not maintain a normal life.

But, I did not have any symptoms of mental illness for a very long time, and when I came home to Korea, my mental state was fully recovered. I asked the doctor for his assessment, and he said to me:

“You show no signs of mental illness. You can stop your medicine and there is a chance that you did not have a mental illness, but rather something else.”

My body has been improving greatly, and as some of you see from my posts, I still have remanents of sickness in me. However, I have been recovering fastly and this has amazed the doctors. The defective genes I carry are moderate in nature and the sickness is hardly recognized- therefore the doctors have told me that I will “recover as the treatments will work”.

I have been praying to God and felt a strong call to religious life. I have always wanted to dedicate myself to God.

But I heard that you have to be completely healthy to be a nun- which worries me so deeply, especially about the psychological exam. I worry that I would fail the exam, although I have been declared to be free from mental illnesses. I am not too worried of the physical aspect as my body is recovering and we are working on the treatments.

Does anyone know how the psychological assessment is processed? And what is the process of application to become a sister?

I think to myself: am I “left out” and denied because I had mental illness and physical problems, and as a result, I am unfit to do God’s work? Thinking of this, it filled me with great sorrow.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

2 Likes

@Cloisters may be able to help

3 Likes

All religious orders have their own way in the application process. Is there an order you are interested in? If so, ask them. If not, then you have to get to know and visit some religious orders and ask them. It is impossible for anyone on this forum to say what the process is for X religious order when we don’t know which it is.

Don’t worry about mental illnesses as being a problem in the process. The process starts with getting to know sisters and orders and going for visits. No order is going to accept you after a first phone call or visit but they would like to get to know you and will let you visit both shorter and longer times before the application process can start. It is both the order and you who are discerning a call to their convent.

3 Likes

Most communities won’t even let you apply to enter unless you’ve been talking to and visiting them for at least a year. I believe the Vatican has encouraged communities to take between 1 and 2 years before making a decision. So there’s plenty of time for someone to take their time getting to know the community and the community to know them. You’ll have one-on-one talks, retreats, and sometimes even solo retreats to live in the community for a time before all of that happens.

Some communities you might make it further than others before they start asking medical questions. I’ve had them pop up in the form that I fill out even just to ask them for vocation information other times I offer the information because I don’t want to lead them on longer than necessary if they’re just going to say no.

I’m less sure on the reactions of communities for people who have had a past diagnosis which now a doctor says is fine. I imagine if the communities let you do the psych eval then they will trust what the doctor has to say about your current and future outlook. Just an FYI, not all communities have a psychological exam as a pre-requisite for entrance.

However, if you feel the Lord is calling you to religious life, He wouldn’t call you and then not have a home for you. I’ve been looking for four years now. I’ve heard “no” A LOT, but I kept going. If it’s something the Lord is calling you to you just have to persevere and let Him guide you to the right community. A year ago I found a lovely community of Visitandines and I absolutely adore everyone there. I’ve stayed with them for extended periods of time living their life and they had no problem with me. Now we’re just trying to work out insurance concerns for while I’m not in final vows before deciding if I can enter.

3 Likes

@nunsuch

@ pulchraesamicamea your call to vocation is an area where you should be asking your Vocations Director, or Religious responsible for entry into the Order. Most on this forum do not have the required experience and knowledge to give you an accurate answer. Erroneous advice puts your Vocation in jeapordy.

3 Likes

@pulchraesamicamea

No you are not left out.

It’s very frequent for a human person to undergo a period of depression at least once in their life (in some western countries estimates of prevalence were that 50% of the population will experience a period of at least mild depression once during their lifetime) the same for anxiety, it has a high general prevalence ranging from mild to severe, it tends to improve with age as a person becomes more mature and learns to deal with it. Many diseases are passing, not chronic. As is probably your case.

The psychological evaluation isn’t something to worry about. Neither are several chronic diseases disqualifying - if your country has universal health care, you get the same health care as anyone else does.

The discernment of your vocation and the evaluation of your health are two separate things. Both seek to know what is best for you, their aim is not to disqualify and not to exclude. If a religious vocation is the right thing for you those evaluations will help to establish as much, if not they also help.

Your dioceses should have a priest specialized in vocations. You can also search for religious orders/communities within your dioceses and country.

http://www.gjcatholic.or.kr/

1 Like

Speak with the Vocations director.

2 Likes

Mods – shouldn’t this be on the vocations forum?

Not all communities require a psych exam. Speaking just for my own emerging Society of Apostolic Life with contemplative branch, if you’ve got the documentation supporting your claim, then I wouldn’t have a problem working with you.

Blessings,
Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican
http://cloisters.tripod.com/
http://cloisters.tripod.com/charity/
http://cloisters.tripod.com/holyangels/id9.html/

2 Likes

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

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.