Religious life and scrupulosity


#1

Hi :)

I was wondering something... if a person struggled with scrupulosity, or had "religious" OCD for a while, but then got over it, would their past prevent them from ever joining a religious order? (for example, as a nun). Or, if a person had a difficult family past? or if they're an only child?

I don't really understand why sometimes I have a strong desire to be a nun when there are things in my life that might prevent me from becoming one... also, I might not become one because I have to pay off a huge student loan and I dont know how long this would take, also I'm an only child and I might have to take care of my parents when they're older. Why is God putting this desire in my heart.. I feel miserable when I'm not close to Him.. and even though I have a natural desire for marriage and family, another part of me just wants God alone. I feel like I'll never be happy if I don't give myself to God - if not through religious life, then in another way that He calls me to. I constantly want to be closer to Him and I'm not sure what this means.

Thank you :)


#2

just my thought (correct me if I’m wrong) I don’t think scrupulosity can be diagnosed clinically nor it could bar one person from religious life. I remember St. Alphonsus is a scrupulous man.

First discern whether the desire if the same as God’s desire for you. If He wants you to be nun, He will take care of your parents. If He wants you to be a wife, it is still possible for you to be holy, isn’t it?

I remember two vocation stories told to me by a nun.

When Sister A (don’t know the name) entered the convent, her parents supported her all the way. Then years later, her mother became insane and the Sr A’s former neighbors are convincing her to take care of her mother. The nun is confused. A fellow nun told her, “God called you to become a cloistered nun. God will take care of everything that you left behind, don’t worry. Trust the Lord. He has everything in His hands.” Now the neighbors are very angry at Sr. A, calling her a bad daughter etc. Then the father came to the parlor and said, “It is GOD who called you to be a nun. Now don’t worry about us, I will take care of your mother.”

This is a nice one:. A nun’s parent was sick and this made the nun want to go home . A Capuchin priest asked her, “Are you a doctor?” No, said the nun. “Are you a nurse?” No, said the nun. “So what are you going to do there?”


#3

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:195429"]
Hi :)

[/quote]

And hi back. :)

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:195429"]
I was wondering something... if a person struggled with scrupulosity, or had "religious" OCD for a while, but then got over it, would their past prevent them from ever joining a religious order? (for example, as a nun). Or, if a person had a difficult family past? or if they're an only child?

[/quote]

Being an only child, and having had a difficult past, are certainly not bars to entry to religious life.

As far as scrupulosity goes, it is a potential difficulty inasmuch as it might be seen as one of the psychological conditions to which religious are prone (being a workaholic is another, for instance); and an enclosed life based around routines could encourage unhealthy ritual behaviours or obsessive thinking, but it is certainly not an automatic bar to entry. It would be useful to discuss it with a religious institute before application to ensure that problems don't re-emerge over time.

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:195429"]
I feel like I'll never be happy if I don't give myself to God - if not through religious life, then in another way that He calls me to. I constantly want to be closer to Him and I'm not sure what this means.

[/quote]

It means that you are a person of faith, and have your priorities right. :thumbsup: It also sounds like you're in an extended process of discernment, and haven't yet arrived at an answer. Do you see anyone for spiritual direction? It might be advantageous to talk through the options, but one of the difficulties about discernment is that it doesn't work to a schedule. Perhaps if you've been prone to anxiety before you're finding this uncertainty rather stressful - most people do, after all.

Be patient if you can, and also acknowledge that by definition, vocation is a leap of faith, where we take a step towards a destination that we do not see. This is an inherently difficult thing to do, but it ultimately brings peace of mind. In my own life I have never had certainty about where I was being led, but by trusting in God I've been able to follow a path that was unclear and at times very daunting, and have arrived in a place where I'm very fulfilled.

The same can be true for you, so stick with it; and remember that even Jesus had his Gethsemane moments, where the future seemed bleak and he found it hard to continue. In our lives we have many times like this, but they pass, and understanding eventually comes to us.

Prayers and best wishes to you.


#4

The desire for God is a universal one, it is not just for those who are possibly called to religious life. You’re desires can be overwhelming, I know, and may be confusing at times, but if you sort them out piece by piece you may find some answers which will direct you on what to do.
When God calls someone to a religious vocation (or whatever vocation for that matter), He usually provides the means to make it happen. Sometimes He allows for difficulties so as to either strengthen one’s resolve and virtues or to “test” them in their holy desires. he never inspires desires which are impossible. We can do that because sometimes we 'do not know what we ask for." First, your strong religious desire. This is simply an invitation for you to draw closer to God. He is inviting you to love Him and to give yourself more fully to him. You ca begin by living a full Christian Catholic life at the state where you find yourself now. Frequent the Sacraments, daily Mass (if possible), acts of charity, regular prayer times and learning more about the Faith. These are things you can do even outside religious life. This is the universal call to holiness.
Being scrupulous and religious OCD are signs of spiritual ailments. They do not necessarily prevent one from joining a convent but they need to be addressed by either counseling or by a good spiritual director. If possible, find one. Past baggage can very heavily influence one’s religious life. They can either make you (develop character) or ruin you. Counseling and spiritual direction are of immense help. we all entered with some past baggage, and we are all broken vessels. We all are in need of healing in one way or other. Being an only child should not be an obstacle. It definitely makes it a cross to be carried, and it calls for more sacrifices, but it should not prevent one from following God. Many of our Sisters are an only child. All the other issues you have are real but they are distractions and hurdles which need can be overcome with time. Desires for marriage, children, etc. are normal and they do not disappear even after entering religion. But if God is truly calling you to become a religious, he will give the grace and a greater love for you to be able to give up all of these.

The bottom line is that God does not command the impossible. You need a good spiritual director and you need (if you have not began so already) to live a more intense spiritual life right now, in the sate of life you are in. Do not wait until you can be Sister / Nun. Begin now. And offer all your sacrifices to him and your desires. He will make things possible if you surrender yourself to His will, right now, in this way.

I hope you don’t mind the length of this response!


#5

[quote="Sister_Helena, post:4, topic:195429"]
The desire for God is a universal one, it is not just for those who are possibly called to religious life. You're desires can be overwhelming, I know, and may be confusing at times, but if you sort them out piece by piece you may find some answers which will direct you on what to do.
When God calls someone to a religious vocation (or whatever vocation for that matter), He usually provides the means to make it happen. Sometimes He allows for difficulties so as to either strengthen one's resolve and virtues or to "test" them in their holy desires. he never inspires desires which are impossible. We can do that because sometimes we 'do not know what we ask for." First, your strong religious desire. This is simply an invitation for you to draw closer to God. He is inviting you to love Him and to give yourself more fully to him. You ca begin by living a full Christian Catholic life at the state where you find yourself now. Frequent the Sacraments, daily Mass (if possible), acts of charity, regular prayer times and learning more about the Faith. These are things you can do even outside religious life. This is the universal call to holiness.
Being scrupulous and religious OCD are signs of spiritual ailments. They do not necessarily prevent one from joining a convent but they need to be addressed by either counseling or by a good spiritual director. If possible, find one. Past baggage can very heavily influence one's religious life. They can either make you (develop character) or ruin you. Counseling and spiritual direction are of immense help. we all entered with some past baggage, and we are all broken vessels. We all are in need of healing in one way or other. Being an only child should not be an obstacle. It definitely makes it a cross to be carried, and it calls for more sacrifices, but it should not prevent one from following God. Many of our Sisters are an only child. All the other issues you have are real but they are distractions and hurdles which need can be overcome with time. Desires for marriage, children, etc. are normal and they do not disappear even after entering religion. But if God is truly calling you to become a religious, he will give the grace and a greater love for you to be able to give up all of these.

The bottom line is that God does not command the impossible. You need a good spiritual director and you need (if you have not began so already) to live a more intense spiritual life right now, in the sate of life you are in. Do not wait until you can be Sister / Nun. Begin now. And offer all your sacrifices to him and your desires. He will make things possible if you surrender yourself to His will, right now, in this way.

I hope you don't mind the length of this response!

[/quote]

Thanks Sister, it encourages me too:thumbsup:


#6

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:195429"]
I was wondering something... if a person struggled with scrupulosity, or had "religious" OCD for a while, but then got over it, would their past prevent them from ever joining a religious order? (for example, as a nun). Or, if a person had a difficult family past? or if they're an only child?

[/quote]

Why would these reasons pose barriers? :confused:

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:195429"]
I don't really understand why sometimes I have a strong desire to be a nun when there are things in my life that might prevent me from becoming one... also, I might not become one because I have to pay off a huge student loan and I dont know how long this would take,

[/quote]

Get in touch with the Knights of Columbus if you pray about it and find that you're really serious about the religious vocation. They help students trying to pay off debts. Also, some religious orders even help newcomers to pay off these burdens if they're serious about joining the order. Or they will point the person in the right direction for getting these burdens paid off. You need to get in touch with a vocational director and he'll help you with this. My spiritual director is a vocational director. If you have any questions, send me a PM and I'll be glad to forward your questions to him. Or you can get in touch with your diocese vocational director or the local vocational directors of nearby religious orders.

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:195429"]
also I'm an only child and I might have to take care of my parents when they're older.

[/quote]

Do they have much of a retirement plan, or would they really be dependent on you? If God is calling your heart, I think your family will have other options. You can certainly pray about it. If you're serious about this, looking into their future now (to relieve yourself of the responsibility if possible) would be worthwhile.

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:195429"]
Why is God putting this desire in my heart.. I feel miserable when I'm not close to Him.. and even though I have a natural desire for marriage and family, another part of me just wants God alone. I feel like I'll never be happy if I don't give myself to God - if not through religious life, then in another way that He calls me to. I constantly want to be closer to Him and I'm not sure what this means.

Thank you :)

[/quote]

You can be very close to God without being in the religious life. God calls everyone, in every vocation, to deep personal relationships with Himself. The religious life is one path that this intimacy with God can take, but everyone in every vocation is called to greater holiness and union with Jesus. Pray and meditate about this sense of calling, and explore your options. Don't take any rash actions but don't be super-slothful like me.


#7

Thanks everyone! :slight_smile:


#8

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