Treatment centers work with religious on mental health, addiction disorders

by Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans


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These four accredited institutions in the United States and Canada have a particular focus on working with men and women in religious orders as well as Roman Catholic clergy on mental health and addiction disorders.

St. John Vianney Center, which has nursing care available, was started in 1946 and originally staffed by the Sisters of Mercy as a private hospital in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

Guest House in Lake Orion, Michigan, opened its doors to men in 1956 and to women in 1994. It was founded by a layman, himself a recovering alcoholic, who wanted to offer Catholic priests an opportunity to experience the 12-step recovery model.

St. Luke Institute, which has four locations in the United States and a global footprint, was launched approximately 40 years ago.

Ontario's Southdown, the brainchild of a recovering Canadian priest who wanted to help other strugglers, opened its doors as the Emmanuel Convalescent Foundation in 1965 and soon began to cover a full range of mental health services to religious and clergy. It is a treatment resource for men and women in ministry regardless of denomination.

Other residential centers that treat women religious include the Shalom Center in Splendora, Texas; the St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute, with facilities in St. Louis and its suburbs; and Emmaus House, a treatment center for women religious in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

For almost 40 years, the Inter-Congregational Addictions Program has been a resource for sisters with addiction disorders. Those interested may find information here or contact Sr. Mary Gene Kinney at

[Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans is a religion columnist for Lancaster Newspapers, Inc., as well as a freelance writer.]