The Work Is Ours: Nurturing and Sustaining Charism in Catholic Schools in the Lasallian Tradition

Peter J Ryan, Fordham University


Catholic schools, at one time staffed almost entirely by vowed members of Religious Congregations, have been and currently are, experiencing a dramatic decrease in the numbers of religious men and women in the administration, faculties, and staffs of Catholic schools. For those schools sponsored by a Religious Community, preserving Catholic identity is associated with the issue of sustaining and nurturing the charism of the founding religious community. If the administration, faculty, and staff of schools sponsored by a religious congregation do not have a clear understanding and commitment to its educational charism, the school’s specific expression of that charism, may be jeopardized. Of particular interest in this Dissertation Project are the schools sponsored by the De La Salle Brothers Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea Province (ANZPPNG).This Dissertation Project explores how administrators, faculty, staff, and students understand charism, their experiences of Lasallian charism and the ways in which the Lasallian charism can be nurtured and sustained in an educational community. This study explored the following three questions: 1. What is Lasallian Charism? 2. How is Lasallian charism experienced? 3. How can Lasallian schools nurture and sustain an authentic expression of the founding charism? The study discusses a theological foundation and a sociohistorical critique of the concept of “charism”, historical context and core elements of the Lasallian charism, and analyses of findings from focus groups conducted with faculty, staff, and students of three Lasallian high schools. A Method for Nurturing Lasallian Charism (MNLC) is offered as a guide for those communities wishing to evoke charism as a descriptive category.

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Recommended Citation

Ryan, Peter J, "The Work Is Ours: Nurturing and Sustaining Charism in Catholic Schools in the Lasallian Tradition" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27742283.