"No room at the inn for Mother Teresa"?
As the provocative title for this article in today's edition of The Age suggests, a connection has always been understood to exist between sainthood and madness. They called St Francis "God's Fool", and, at least to his family, he certainly appeared to be mentally unhinged.
The article, coming from Dublin, is about the now universal practice of putting prospective seminary students and religious novices through rigourous psychological screening. (This is of particular interest to your correspondent, who will begin the next stage in his process toward ordination as a deacon by undergoing the requisite 6 hours of interviews with a psychologist.) The article reports that while there are extremely good reasons for carrying out this screening process, one negative effect is that it contributes to the reduction of the number of actual priests and religious finally entering the system. When this is added to the fact that many religious orders (and indeed some seminaries) are no longer taking young people straight from school, well...
I am assured by the local vocations team that the chappy they have doing their psychological screening is top notch. Furthermore, the Seminary here in Melbourne does take school leavers. But I have heard from others in other dioceses with very low enrollments at their seminaries, that one of the reasons is precisely a screening process that requires near perfect specimens of the psychologically well adjusted homo sapiens.
So the article asks the obvious question: Would Mother Teresa have been accepted by the Lorretto Sisters if they had employed the same screening process in 1928 as they do now? The answer is simply: no. She was too young for a start, and had they known anything of her other propensities (eg. of kissing lepers and such Franciscan nonsense) they certainly wouldn't have let her in.
As an applicant myself, I must say I am very curious to see what the process will be like. So, in part I am looking forward to it, but in part I am dreading it. Dreading it, because I know myself to be at least as mad as the next bloke or blokette.
On top of which, there is the old saying that you don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps...