Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Roth, Gene L.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Catholic health facilities--United States; Medical care--United States--Religous aspects; Catholics--Adult education--United States; Laity--Catholic Church


Traditionally, the sponsorship of Catholic health care has been the legacy of vowed women religious. For the purposes of this research, sponsorship of a Roman Catholic Church ministry was defined as having canonical stewardship and influence over the fundamental values and direction of the ministry. An institution operated in the name of the Catholic Church must be sponsored by an organization that is recognized and authorized by the church. Lay involvement in the sponsorship of Catholic health care is a growing trend. The purpose of this study was to explore the new phenomenon of lay involvement in sponsorship of Catholic health care through the perspectives of current vowed and lay sponsor members. Grounded theory was the general qualitative method used in the study. Three general questions guided the research: (1) What knowledge, skills, abilities, and attributes are necessary for effective sponsorship? (2) To what extent is a personal commitment to spiritually-based values integral to effective sponsorship? and (3) What motivates someone to accept the responsibility of sponsorship? The data led to the development of a model that included one central theme and one corresponding theme. The central theme, challenges of sponsorship, emerged from the challenges category, which included properties such as the complexity of health care and the complexity of sponsorship. It also included the primary premise that change is at the heart of the matter, with properties related to the reason for the change and letting go. The corresponding theme, preparation continuum, flowed directly from the challenges of sponsorship. Specifically, preparation for lay involvement should begin before the first layperson is appointed. The preparation continuum theme emerged from three major categories—preparation, attributes, and motivation. Implications for practice, including a strategic planning and policy development process, were also developed to guide religious communities. The process starts with exploring the issues that are closest to the heart and proceeds through a process of clarification, communication, identification, selection, orientation, development, and refinement. The research study also includes implications for adult educators and practitioners, as well as recommendations for future research.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [129]-134).


[xii], 153 pages




Northern Illinois University

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