Vocations for Men with Mental Illnesses



I have paranoid schizophrenia. What kind of vocations might someone in my condition be called to? I was discerning a call to priesthood before I became ill and that got totally derailed. I can’t even get my diocesan vocation director to call me back. Can someone make suggestions for other potential callings? Thanks.


You might consider a third order. Google Catholic third orders. Look for one that does not require that you attend monthly meetings. Just a thought.


In most places in the world there is the “Pauline Family” founded by Blessed James Alberione. He started a type of third order whose mission is the Mass Media of
Social Communication. You can google Alberione to find the Pauline Family. If
you live in the U.S. one would contact the Daughters of St. Paul.


Ask at whatever agency you work with to see if there are aptitude tests they could arrange for you.

That would provide a suggestion for some direction to pursue.

For example, depending what the testing indicates, you could teach … in an area that the tests suggest you are good at.

If you are good at numbers, you could teach accounting or math … just an idea.


If your vocations director isn’t returning your calls, if you have a regular confessor (which I recommend) ask him about that, since they know you well, as well as your parish priest.

All the best to you, God bless you



I have one other suggestion; if you are interested in professing VOWS of poverty, chastity, and obedience the "Franciscan Missionary of Jesus Crucified has separate communities of consecrated men and women many with disabilities, living in the world as a secular institute. For more information you can go to: www.fmjccommunity.com. I’d love to hear how this goes if you so choose to apply.



Do you get to daily Mass?


Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions. :slight_smile:

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Yes, I do.


Paranoid schizophrenia and priesthood would be a very bad combination. That aside, it’s important to understand exactly what is meant by a vocation. First and foremost a vocation is a calling to live out one’s life in the service of God through His people. This can be done in any number of ways and priesthood / religious life are simply broad examples of this. So when you ask what kind of vocations you might be called to, what you’re really asking is “how can I live out my life in the service of God through His people?” So for example, you might be a bank teller and serve people through being friendly and helpful to those that you encounter and going out of your way to help fulfill their needs.

So, while we often talk about vocations as being about priesthood or religious life, there’s a lot more to the idea of vocations them than that and a lot more which needs to be said about vocations to the “ordinary” life.


Thank you for this. This often seems a hard thing for folk to grasp for some reason. Maybe a search for “recognition” by others. Remember that we are ALL BAPTISED, all called to serve. In the humblest of ways often and that the most rewarding.


Thank you for this. This often seems a hard thing for folk to grasp for some reason. Maybe a search for “recognition” by others. Remember that we are ALL BAPTISED, all called to serve. In the humblest of ways often and that the most rewarding.

Although what you say about ALL BAPTISED, called to serve and certainly is a ministry that one can do for the glory of God, when some talk about a vocation they are saying for priesthood, diaconate, or religious life (which you acknowedged), it is because they feel a deeper caller to following Christ. They may feel the need to feel more connected to people living the same way OR they may feel called to the vowed life and although one can make private vows it is NOT quite the same as making PUBLIC vows.



"it is NOT quite the same as making PUBLIC vows"

Quite true in Canon Law and theological determinations; however, the important thing in discerning is the invitation from God to a certain vocational role in The Church. The Church does acknowledge that the vocation and call from God to the celibate lay life can and does exist and I have quoted from these Documents in previous threads. Our universal call is to holiness and all roads (vocations) can and do lead to holiness.

Which road is God inviting me to follow in my own journey to holiness?

On most all diocesan websites nowadays I have sighted anyway, marriage, priesthood, consecrated life and the single life (lay celibate) as vocational states of life are endorsed.

United States Conference Catholic Bishops:

God may call some people to the committed single life.
The single life is not a vocation for those who never found
the right person to marry and didn’t want to enter the
religious life. It is a very real calling to remain single for the
sake of the Kingdom. Committed single persons are not
ordained; they are part of the laity and are called to enrich
the Church, as all lay people are called to do, through their
holiness and service. They are called to breathe Christ’s
Good News into all the areas of life through social action.

It is very important to note that the lay celibate vocational state (single life) is consciously embraced “for the sake of The Kingdom” - a committed Gospel life in some direction. It is not vocationally what I have seen defined as simply a “default position”. It is a distinct call and from God Spiritual direction is important and lifelong in my book. Certainly, Pope Benedict endorsed spiritual direction for those who desire to follow The Gospel and take their baptism seriously zenit.org/articles/pope-recommends-spiritual-direction-to-everyone/

Finally, The Church does not state that one must make private vows to live out the lay celibate vocation and call - one can simply live the call. This is where spiritual direction is particularly vital - guidance in determining and defining God’s invitation.


BarbTH: I did acknowledge that the single life is a vocation in itself, however, as I said MOST people who desire a vocation are desiring a deeper commitment through vows.


As well as public vows in the consecrated state of life there are private vows (to the evangelical counsels as in religious life) to God in the lay state of life - one is obliged and vowed to fulfil private vows under the virtue of religion. In the section on Vows in Canon Law, private vows are also covered.

What precisely do you mean by “deeper commitment”?

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