Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies


Catholic Educational Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Virginia Shimabukuro

Second Advisor

Dan McPherson

Third Advisor

Judy Goodell


The staffs of Catholic schools have undergone a wholesale change in the past 50 years. Whereas the great majority of Catholic schools in the 1950s were staffed by priests and /or religious sisters or brothers, Catholic schools in the 21st century are almost entirely staffed by lay men and women. By sheer numbers, sustaining the charism of congregation-sponsored Catholic schools has increasingly become the responsibility of the lay men and women who minister in them.

The De La Salle Christian Brothers, who have sponsored Catholic schools and other educational ministries for more than 330 years, take a vow of association for the educational service of the poor, and this vow marks their identity as Lasallian educators. In recent years, lay people have come to be considered associated with the Brothers for the Lasallian educational mission. The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of association on the part of lay people serving in Lasallian educational ministries.

A phenomenologically based, in-depth interview process was used in this study. Two lay men and two lay women currently working in Lasallian ministries in the San Francisco District participated in three 90-minute interviews that explored the paths that led them to association, their experience of association, and the meaning that association had for them, currently and into the future.

The results revealed that these study participants' experiences of association developed over time, becoming a vocation that they each situated within their primary life commitment to marriage or the committed single life, and that they envisioned continuing into the future. Mentors and formation experiences played important roles in their experience of association, as did participation in school communities. Association was experienced by all as a deep commitment to adults in their school communities, as well as to young people, especially those in need. These results have important implications for how lay people are formed and nurtured in the Lasallian charism so that it will thrive into the future.

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