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Catholic Higher EducationA Culture in Crisis$
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Melanie M. Morey and John J. Piderit

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305517

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195305515.001.0001

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Cultural Collapse and Religious Congregations of Women

Cultural Collapse and Religious Congregations of Women

(p.245) 9 Cultural Collapse and Religious Congregations of Women
Catholic Higher Education

Melanie M. Morey

John J. Piderit (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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