My mother grew up Roman Catholic and raised me with the teachings of Jesus and the Saints, which made her suicide all the more a shock. Having gone to Catholic school my entire life, I struggled against the traditional teachings of the Church that suicide was a mortal sin. I had staunch Catholics tell me that my mother wasn’t going to Heaven because of the great sin she committed. It made her act seem unforgivable, which contradicted the image of God I had come to know and love – the One that taught me to turn the other cheek and go forth with love in all that I do. So, after years of turning it over in my head, I decided to write to the Sisters of the Dominican Monastery of St. Jude, my mother’s favorite Saint and, incidentally, also the Saint of desperate and lost causes, about my mother’s death and how I felt. Their letter back blew me away. I expected a brief letter that they would pray for my mother and wave me away. Instead, I came away respecting the Church even more.
A section of the letter stood out so profoundly for me, that I “can surely trust in God’s mercy to [my mother] and [me]. Suicide is a mortal sin if done with full consent of the will and mind. They know now how depression or suffering can cloud one’s mind.”
Hey, maybe we’re getting somewhere.