Chapter

Cultural Collapse and Religious Congregations of Women

Melanie M. Morey and John J. Piderit

in Catholic Higher Education

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305517
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784813 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195305515.003.0009
 Cultural Collapse and Religious Congregations of Women

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This chapter presents a cautionary tale about cultural change that highlights the inherent difficulties in the process. It analyzes one of the biggest success stories in Catholic culture, namely, the achievements of Catholic institutions through the influence of nuns. It briefly recounts the history of religious congregations of women in the United States, giving special emphasis to their process of religious cultural formation designed to produce knowledgeable and committed women who were visible witnesses of the Catholic tradition in the institutions in which they served. In discussing what has happened in religious congregations of women since the Second Vatican Council, the chapter illuminates some of the strategic choices that can ultimately erode, rather than enhance, an organization’s culture. This simultaneously exhilarating and depressing story yields three cautionary principles, and ushers in a discussion about how Catholic colleges and universities should assess their current situation and move forward strategically.

Keywords: Catholic; change; nuns; history; strategic choices; principles; formation; knowledge; commitment

Chapter.  14097 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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