Sr. Edith Bogue, O.S.B., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sociology
Sister Beverly Raway, O.S.B., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Nursing
Benedictine Pedagogy Conference 2013
Benedictine University, Lisle IL
• CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS
―Monastery, College, US Population
• UNDERSTANDINGS OF SPONSORSHIP
―Formal relationship or Ministry
• PARTNERING FOR COMMON GOALS
• SUSTAINING THE MINISTRY
― Commitment, Goals, Collaboration
• A graphic presentation of one community’s
growth and then decrease of membership.
• Each “dot” represents one sister, ranging in
age from the teens on the left to the 90s on
1969 and 2012
The monastic community is about 18% of its peak size. Fewer
than 10 are employed in the College; others serve on the
Board. The pool for the future is small.
This pattern is common in US
1965 1975 1985 1995 2000 2005 2012
US Religious Men (Priests + Brothers) US Religious sisters
Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate Frequently Requested Statistics
Colleges are growing …
body in 2012
is 800% of
the size of
that of 1965.
Differences among students
13% report that
they are Catholic.
1 in 3 Young Adults is a “None”
Percent by Age Group
0 20 40 60 80 100
No religious affiliation Any religious affiliation
Aggregated from Pew Research Center Surveys January – July 2012
Changing student dynamics
• Is there a critical mass of Catholic students?
Christian students? Religious students?
• How do the non-Catholic and the non-religious
students affect sponsorship & charism?
• What about future lay faculty and staff?
Face of Catholicism is changing
• Generational differences within Catholics.
• Over half of Catholics under 40 are now
Hispanic or members of other non-White
racial or ethnic groups
―Contrasts with the northern European heritage of
most of our Benedictine communities
Shifting Demographics of
0 20 40 60 80 100
US General Public
White Hispanic Other
U.S. Catholics: Key Data from Pew Research
“We are refocusing our
sponsorship in ways that
invite those who work with
us to bear witness to
Gospel values through
deeds of love and service.”
Sponsorship…is a formal
relationship between a
organization and a legally
formed entity, entered into
for the sake of promoting
and sustaining the
Church’s mission in the
-Canon Law Society of
Committee on Consecrated Life
“We, the women and men of the Church, are in the middle
of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love…”
“When the Church wants to boast of its quantity and
makes organizations, and makes offices and become
somewhat bureaucratic, then the Church loses its main
substance and is in danger of turning into an NGO.”
“And the Church is not an NGO. It's a love story ...
Offices are required ... ok! but they are necessary up to a
certain point: as an aid to this love story. But when
organization takes first place, love falls down and the
Church, poor thing, becomes an NGO. And this is not the
Homily, 24 April 2013
Sponsorship as ministry
• Monastic communities founded colleges as a
way of sharing this Gospel “love story”
• As monastic ministry, sponsorship continues
the Gospel love story and – when needed –
may question a bureaucratic focus.
• “Cultural competence”
―“Everybody is ethnocentric. So what can we do about it?”
―“The WEIRDest people in the world”
• Counter-cultural relevance
―“Your ways should not be the same as the world’s ways”
―Respond to the emptiness and loneliness of modern life
Barger, Ken. (2008) Ethnocentrism. http://www.iupui.edu/~anthkb/ethnocen.htm
Henrich et al (2010) The WEIRDest people in the world http://ssrn.com/abstract=1601785
• Mission-centered coordination with
Benedictine or faith-based organizations for
internships, service-learning, employment.
• College-Monastery coordination to prepare
new monastics for roles, and structure roles to
strengths of new members.
Sustaining: More than Surviving
• Commitment to sponsorship ministry
• Goals for sponsorship
• Developing the ministry of sponsorship
―Formation for Benedictine communities
―Formation for College / University communities
• Monasteries collaborating with each other to
carry out the ministry of sponsorship.
A ministry of sponsorship
can connect the
monastery and the college
so that they work together
to build a future in which
their shared love of
learning carries the
Gospel ‘love story’ into