Date of Award

Fall 10-25-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Barbara S. Rieckhoff

Second Advisor

Mary Paul McCaughey


Faith and spirituality are becoming increasingly sought-after anchors in mounting challenges in the contemporary world. The need for effective leadership, spiritual guidance, and mentorship have become more pivotal. Evidence also suggests that spiritual leadership values and practices are related to leadership effectiveness and encompass the behaviors needed to motivate oneself, satisfy spiritual well-being, and positively influence others within that organization. However, more research has yet to explore how spirituality affects leadership behavior and action in faith -based programs such as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

This study explored the lived experiences of RCIA leaders and participants to understand better the essence of leadership styles within the RCIA process. A narrative research method was implemented, which involved interviews, observations, and field notes. Interviews provided the primary source of data, and four major themes emerged from the analysis of data: (a) spirituality, (b) spiritual wellness (c) transformational and personal development, and (d) shared commitment.

The key findings of this study reinforced the evidence-based correlation between the RCIA process and spiritual leadership. Ultimately, by shedding light on the importance of theRiteof ChristianInitiationofAdultsinfosteringspiritualleadership,thisresearch not only aimed to enhance the understanding of the RCIA process and its impacts on individual spiritual journeys but also underscored the relevance of spiritual leaders in navigating the challenges of modern life.

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