Date of Award

Summer July 2011

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Marta Baltodano

Second Advisor

Edmundo F. Litton

Third Advisor

Mary K. McCullough


A decline in the number of vowed religious who teach and administer in Catholic high schools has placed the responsibility for transferring the founders’ Charism, the traditional mission and identity of the schools, in the hands of lay educators. This study examined how one Catholic independent single-sex high school established programs and methods to transfer the founders’ Charism to its lay educators and students in the areas of social justice, diversity, and social and political awareness.

The researcher collected data about Charism transference by interviewing five adults selected as a purposive sample and conducting focus groups with 15 students selected on a nominative basis. Additional research included prolonged researcher emic observation and an analysis of school documents and archives; the data were codified and an emergent analysis of the data was performed. The analysis focused on social justice, diversity, and social and political awareness at the school. Informing the analysis were the theories of Catholic Social Teaching, critical pedagogy, and liberation theology. The emergent analysis identified that the school institutionalized the founders’ Charism, established an atmosphere of care for others in the areas of social justice and diversity, and promoted awareness of feminine identity and a sense of students as leaders, as well as an understanding of social justice and diversity issues. However, factors including social reproduction, social capital, cultural capital, and class complicated the transformational praxis of action in the areas of social justice and political and social awareness.