Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Busk

Second Advisor

Mathew Mitchell

Third Advisor

Walter Gmelch


The Kairos retreat is popular among upperclassmen at Jesuit high schools across the nation. Kairos, or “God’s Time,” is a religious retreat grounded in Christian incarnational theology and the overall theology of the retreat is love in action, and its participants are challenged to “live the fourth” day, which becomes the never-ending day. Even though there has been a trend across the nation in the first decade of the 21st century within Jesuit high schools to move the retreat to the junior level, there is no empirical research examining the spiritual effects on the individual student of moving the Kairos retreat in the junior year.

This study described high-school seniors in single-gender Jesuit high schools who had attended a Kairos retreat during their junior years and participated in fourth-day follow-up activities in terms of religious engagement and the internalization of religious beliefs. The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale and the Christian Religious Internalization Scale were given to 267 seniors, 58 Kairos attendees were interviewed along with six retreat directors at five Jesuit all-male high schools in the United States in the Fall of 2018. The results indicated an effectively planned and executed Kairos retreat could act as a catalyst for a young man to become more intrinsically motivated to engage in his faith. It was concluded that Jesuit high schools that incorporate elements of the Kairos retreat into the larger life of the school were more successful than those who did not and that schools that provided opportunities for follow up to the Kairos retreat, especially those that were student run, were more successful in engaging students than those that did not follow up. Six exemplary practices were identified encouraging Jesuit high schools to develop a Kairos retreat experience that focused on (a) relationships and recognition of vulnerability; (b) the self, family, friends, and God; (c) inner reflection and sharing of graces; (d) outward change and increased faith; (e) the graces and challenges of life; and (f) highlights “living the fourth.” In addition, students themselves should consider how best to “live the fourth.” Some ways of doing this include participation in follow-up retreat programs, immersion trips, and other school activities.