Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

First Advisor

Virginia Shimabukuro

Second Advisor

Doreen Jones

Third Advisor

Daniel McPherson


Religious congregations have contributed notably to the shaping of the American Catholic experience through their schools. Many of these congregations, founded in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, brought to the United States their values, traditions and expertise to sustain and complement the growing American Catholic community. However, in the later part of the 20th century, a dramatic decline in the number of religious in these communities posed a challenge to the American Church and its schools. In spite of the dramatically decreasing membership, the Congregation of Holy Cross continues to sponsor 13 secondary schools in the United States. In light of the decreasing numbers of religious brothers available for the ministry of Catholic secondary education, a concern has arisen within the Congregation and the high school communities about sustaining the Congregation's charism, specifically about how a uniquely Holy Cross school culture will be maintained.

Original documents from the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Blessed Basil Moreau, were used to gain insight into the founder's original vision and philosophy of education. That vision and philosophy influenced a Congregational document, The Characteristics of a Holy Cross School (1983), which was the earliest attempt to codify the distinct culture of a Holy Cross school. The Characteristics of a Holy Cross School were re-validated and used to formulate a survey to investigate the perceptions of administrators, full-time faculty and board members as to the presence of the Characteristics in their schools. All 13 Holy Cross High Schools participated in this study with 1,221 administrators, full-time faculty and board members completing the survey for a return rate of 55%.

Survey data revealed that the administrators, full-time faculty and board members of the high schools perceived the Characteristics to be present in their schools, indicating that a Holy Cross school culture had been formed and maintained in 13 high schools sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States.