Sr. Isidora’s Prayer for the Mentally Ill
May God bless all those who suffer from disorders of the mind, their family and love ones, and all who sacrifice so much of their lives for their care. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who Loves and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit, One God, world without end. Amen!
I am so grateful for all of the prayer support. Below is a personal witness from one of our members: a nun who suffered from mental illness before she became a nun. She recently wrote a prayer reflection and meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary for us. The exact location of the monastery is left out for privacy. Thank you Sr. Isidora!
May the Passion of Jesus Christ be Ever in Our Hearts
Wounded by Grace
By a Passionist Nun
Through many hardships…a twenty-year battle with depression…struggles with self-esteem and self-worth…the seemingly never-ending fight with compulsive overeating…the nightmares and flashbacks of PTSD…and many “detours” on the journey of life, I see the Grace of God at work.
I suffered from depression from a very young age- brought on partly by trauma and partly through my struggle to figure out people. As a child, I didn’t understand how to interact with others my own age, and in spite of (or perhaps because of) my exuberance and enthusiasm in my attempts to make friends, I never really had any until high school. To ease the pain of not having friends, I spent most of the time lost in the world of books and computers, which were easier to understand than the people who surrounded me.
Due to side-effects of the medications used to treat my depression and mood swings, I gained weight rapidly, which not only compounded the depression, but brought on the ongoing battle with compulsive overeating/food addiction. As the years dragged on, I struggled with thoughts of death and suicide, of a way to end the pain. I thank God daily that I never acted on them.
Things were very difficult and for most of my childhood and teen years, I did not have any real faith. In fact, if I did think of God, it was in frustration and anger at what I assumed to be an unfair arrangement. -Why would He give people like me creativity and intelligence and then make it so hard to relate these gifts to others? Why give me a heart that aches when others hurt, and then pile on the pain? I just didn’t understand.
As time passed, things always seemed to get worse rather than better, until I was in my early 20’s, when, by the Grace of God , I converted to Catholicism. Yet even as I learned the value of suffering at the side of the Sorrowful Mother- the depth of whose mental anguish during her Son’s tortuous Passion us unfathomable- I didn’t truly understand the “Why” of my own.
It was not until the ineffable Providence of Almighty God, I finally reached my lowest point and ended up living in a Group Home with people that were truly mentally unstable, that I realized that I was not. Though I was only there for six short months, I discovered true mental suffering: in the eyes of a young man in the throes of Schizophrenia that looked through me as if I was the figment and the hallucinations that plagued him were reality…in the almost panicked outbursts of women screaming at the voices in their heads…in the once-handsome face of a man who so sadly listened to the voices that whispered “burn” … in the scars on the wrists of those who could no longer bear the darkness… I saw much in my short sojourn in that sanctuary of the mentally ill.
In those few months, I came to love them, to see them with the eyes of God as His dearest children. I saw their pain and knew that I could not, of myself, do anything to alleviate it. I also learned that my mind, though not undamaged, was far from the brokenness that surrounded me. I came away with a new strength that came from above; knowledge of my limitations as being truly Gifts from God, and a renewed compassion and Love for those who suffer so from illnesses of the human mind.
When I entered the Immaculate Conception Convent of the Passionist Nuns here… I found my home, and true Peace of mind and heart. I admit that I have wounds, but I see now that they are badges of honor bestowed lovingly upon me by my Lord and King, for a purpose: to remind me to pray for those whom I offer my Vocation- my little broken ones, my fellow children of Grace- the mentally ill.
Sister Isidora Maria of the Holy Will of God