A Saint Goes to Psychotherapy

Did you know that St. Oscar Romero went to psychotherapy?  He did!

As a young seminarian and priest, Romero’s prayer and discipleship was bound by his obsessive-compulsive personality disorder which manifested as a self-absorbing scrupulosity.   

Here is a key bit from the book where I learned about all this, linking his therapeutic and his saintly journeys. 

“[A] psychic / affective conversion within the particularities of [Romero’s] OCPD and scrupulosity revealed psychological complexes, which, once engaged, freed him from the rigidity of their hold, healing and transforming the complexes into a source of energy he never imagined or realized he had at his disposal.” (Pg. 154, Archbishop Oscar Romero: A Disciple Who Revealed the Glory of God, by D. Zynda)  

Romero channeled this energy into becoming a superlative pastor and archbishop, and his commitment to God and the Salvadoran people flowered more fully each year.  

Much is written and taught about Romero’s courage in the face of the violence that ultimately took his life.  We should write and teach more about how an indispensable part of his capacity for such a witness was rooted in the courage to show up to psychotherapy.