Core Values of a Benedictine Education
Professional Doctorate in Educational Leadership (ProDEL)
School of Education
Benedictine education; Benedictine values; Catholic Education; Student Formation; Student handbook; Values Formation
The purpose of this study is to examine a High School Student Handbook of an all-girls Benedictine school to determine its degree of alignment with the Rule of St. Benedict (RB). Christ is the foundation of the existence of a Catholic and Benedictine education. Saint Benedict wrote a rule about a way of seeking God and following Christ in the “school for the Lord’s service.” Using the RB as a guide, Benedictine education can be understood as the formation of the whole person towards a transformation into the image of Christ. The first phase of the study involved the gathering of information on how the RB shaped the formulation of the student handbook by the administrators and members of the Student Handbook Committee. Likewise, Benedictine Sisters/Nuns who are formators and/or educators shared the chapters of the RB that are relevant to the implementation of a student handbook for the formation and discipline of high school students. The second phase was an examination of the RB, commentaries, studies, articles and reflections on the RB and literature on Benedictine Education and its characteristics and hallmarks, to create a Core Values of Benedictine Education Framework. The core values of a Benedictine Education rooted in the Rule of St. Benedict are (a) Christ-centeredness, (b) silence and restraint of speech, (c) listening, (d) humility, (e) obedience, (f) discretion, (g) stability, (h) community, (i) prayer, study and work, (j) discipline and order, (k) stewardship, (l) hospitality, (m) service, (n) justice, and (o) peace. The Student Handbook was then analyzed against the Core Values Framework and the look for criteria for each core value. Examples of items or guidelines that were strongly and/or weakly aligned to the core value were identified. Gaps were also identified in the Handbook where values should have been discussed but were not. Following these illustrative examples, the analysis concludes with an example of how a value can be used to improve a section of the Handbook to make the Handbook more formative for students. The responses of the administrators and members of the committee explicitly showed the “living out” of certain Benedictine values in their activities related to the student handbook. One of the significant revisions of the Handbook is the inclusion of the CARE discipline system. The Benedictine Sisters/Nuns emphasized the need for authority and structure and replied that the goal in disciplining students is healing, compassion and keeping the student who erred in community. However, the goal is to make the entire Student Handbook a living example of the RB; to have a Student Handbook that authentically and intentionally transforms the core values of a Benedictine education into action and then be an integral part of the holistic formation of students.
Pinto, O.S.B., S. L. (2016). Core Values of a Benedictine Education (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from http://ddc.duq.edu/etd/184
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