Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Anthony Colella, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Barbara Strobert, Ed. D.

Committee Member

Constance McCue, Ed. D.

Committee Member

Luke Stedrak, Ed. D.


Catholic Identity, Edmund Rice Christian Brothers, Charism, Catholic Education, Catholic Secondary School


Over the past 25 years, if not longer, the number of vowed religious priests, brothers, and sisters actively teaching and administering in Catholic elementary and secondary schools has decreased dramatically. One might say that they are a vanishing breed, and the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers are no exception. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore how the Church’s Catholic identity is strengthened, communicated, and remains vibrant in schools and ministries currently under the care and sponsorship of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. It is important to assess the Catholic identity of the schools under the Brothers’ care while determining the programs and measures needed to ensure that same Catholic identity. An additional purpose is to develop those practices and programs that will insure that the traditions and charism of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers continues in their ministries in the United States.

In the document To Teach As Jesus Did (1972), the bishops of the United States proclaimed that schools, to be authentically Catholic, must have at their foundation three pieces that are interwoven. Catholic schools must proclaim the message of the Gospels of Jesus Christ, continue building the Kingdom of God on earth (form community), and provide service to the People of God. Since that document, the Sacred Congregation for Education (the Vatican) along with many others have added greatly to what it means to be an authentically Catholic school.

This study utilized a quantitative approach through the use of a Likert scale survey entitled the Edmund Rice Christian Brother Catholic Identity Index. The survey was distributed to staff, faculty, administrators, and board members of nine Edmund Rice secondary schools across the country. Three hundred forty completed surveys were analyzed and the results reported in this study.

Those engaged in the educational ministry of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers who participated in the survey reported that each of the schools displayed a strong sense of Catholic identity and Christian Brother charism through school environment, spiritual life, school programs, ceremony, and traditions, and admissions. The results of the survey indicated a number of ways to continue strengthening Catholic identity and Christian Brother charism through utilization of school mission statements, in-service opportunities for faculty and staff, intentional hiring, and developing programs for student spiritual leadership.

The study provides both school and Province leadership insights and ideas to continuing Jesus’ command “to teach all nations.”