Vocation for people with depression?


I’ve noticed many people on the internet who are feeling called to religious life get refused because of depression or some other mental illness.
I have met people and have friends who are married or in serious relationships and their mental health does not affect their relationships- the relationships help if anything.

Personally, I’ve dealt with bouts of feeling depressed and although I have never been diagnosed with depression I would feel my mood would prevent me from entering religious life. (I’m not sure what my vocation is anymore)

So what is a vocation for someone with depression? Generally speaking, this isn’t just about me.

I can’t do single life forever, things have to change.


What is it that you really want to change? To be a religious or married? I think that this might be something to bring up with your priest and vocation director of your diocese. They could probably answer your questions a lot better than I can. And I highly suggest that you see a doctor about your “moods.” It might not be full blown depression. I mean, I’m not doubting what you say, but it may be related to hormones or something. I remember once my mom telling me that she could tell when I was on my period because I’d get catty around then. A regular sour puss. So, get that checked out and if it is depression, talk with your doctor about treatment plans. The right doctor and the right diagnosis can help a great deal. :thumbsup:


The reason that folks having depression are turned aside from religious communities is not necessarily because of the condition itself, but because the sufferer might mistake a desire to withdraw from the world as a “vocation.”

There is no formal discernment process for “getting into a relationship,” so there is no comparable barrier.



I’ve suffered from severe anxiety, depression and probably bi-polar disorder since I was quite young. I didn’t choose it, but it is my problem, and I have to live with it.

It’s one of the reasons that I am hesitant to further discern the priesthood, at least, until I can work out some resolve. Every one has their own cross to bear, but I some times wish I could be physically disabled, rather than mentally unstable.


There’s nothing stopping those who suffer from depression from associating for vocational purposes. By this I mean a private lay association without the intention of becoming an institute of religious life. Who knows, an actual institute of religious life of some sort could possibly emerge. But let’s not go there just yet. Let’s keep it at the simple association stage.

The reasons why religious communities won’t work with persons with depression issues are myriad. I invite you to think about them and see the community’s perspective on the issue.

Does anyone remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh? If a community of active sisters or brothers is to convey the JOY of Jesus Christ, then how can an Eeyore do so?

What is the basic reason for the depression? Is it hereditary? What kind of medical resources need to be available should the person have an exacerbation of symptoms (‘flare-up’)? Can the community afford–in terms of time and money–this kind of intervention?

Depression can also make the person’s outlook on life very sour. They become grumpy, and then things can spiral downhill from there. Bipolar can cause such severe depression that one can literally die from it, and I don’t mean suicide, either.

So, that being said, let us listen to our attractions and see what they say. Take those results and build from there.



I have just started to discern whether I really should go into the Priesthood and I can say that although I have depression, I constantly set my eyes on Christ. even though I am 16, I try not let my depression take complete control of me. I set my eyes on God,Christ and Mary.


I do suffer from depression and severe anxiety, have done for most of my life. Over the years, I’ve been able to develop mental discipline that can help with the anxiety. But it does make me wonder, since I have been discerning religious life… hard to know where I’m really being called sometimes. All one can do is pray.


Carrying the rosary and the St.Benedict medal may help, as well. If these depressions are related to demonic oppression, these sacramentals would help.

Make note of when you’re feeling these depressions–time, place, what’s happening, etc. See if a pattern forms. If so, seek a mental health professional’s assistance. Do everything you can to learn about family histories.



A wise Sister once told me that the best thing to do is work on your spiritual life before worrying about where you’ll end up. I have ongoing medication needs due to depression which I’ll most likely have to take for the rest of my life. I’ve been turned down by numerous orders because they believed that my health would prevent me from being able to live the life appropriately. Most of them told me that they didn’t have sufficient health insurance to cover my medical needs as I have hypothyroidism, as well. It took a long time for me to accept that I might never enter religious life but now I’m open to other paths. In fact, once I let go and let God work, things have ended up better than I could have imagined. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I’m getting my Bachelor’s degree and finding employment. I know that I have plenty of time to figure out where God is calling me and it’s best not to rush into something just so “things change.” Work on your spiritual life and bettering yourself, and other things will fall into place. Hope this helps! :thumbsup:


Religious life can intensify mental conditions because there can be few comforts and the life tends to be demanding. When people enter, things normally ‘come up’ but if someone is depressed then it will be hard to live the life. If someone has not got to a place where they have resolved their past hurts (or whatever is causing their depression) then it will be difficult to set them aside to focus on whatever the apostolate is. Finally, if someone needs to tend to themselves/their depression, then they might not be really free enough to tend to others. Depression can be so overwhelming that the intensity of religious life is hard with the condition. I can understand why communities are reluctant but maybe after a period of recovery it might be re-assessed.

I find that some stories of saints who had depression are inspiring - St Flora is meant to have tested her community, but got through it with a good spiritual director.


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