Mentoring and Monitoring Benedictine
Voices From The Monastery
Future Aims and Conclusion
After looking at these comments and considering the results of the ranking of essential concepts from the Rule, I was encouraged to carry this study to another level, which my chair says will "enrich the study." In evaluating the responses, I was not surprised to see the management and governance chapters relating to the cellarer, the abbot and the election of the abbot or the reception of guests listed as essential. I was more interested in those chapters which for me suggested applications to the personal qualities for necessary for educational leadership and effective community building in higher education: "Good Zeal of Monks," "Tools for Good Works," "Humility," the Prologue, and "Mutual Obedience."
So I now again turn to you as mentors and ask you to help me refine and verify my results. I will be taking your contact information if you work as an administrator or an educator in higher education. I would like to continue the dialogue with you through email. I will be asking you to comment on this last list of chapters as they inform your work.
In closing, I work in an environment, as do some of you, where many seem drunk with power and I have worked in toxic environments and seen and felt the destruction caused by this addiction. I am not naive about power just disgusted by the illusions of dominance which accompany it. And so I look to the Rule of St. Benedict, as have countless others through the centuries, as a countercultural way to prepare educational leadership. Perhaps the Rule of St. Benedict will be taught in educational leadership classes or at least placed on the suggested additional readings list. Perhaps more of us in educational administration will look back to the monastery as a model rather than the corporation.
As I was flying into Bismarck for this convention, I finished reading Doing Business with Benedict: The Rule of St Benedict and Business Management: A Conversation written by Kit Dollard, Anthony Marett-Crosby, O.S.B., and Abbot Timothy Wright, O.S.B. Perhaps this publication will serve as a model with examples directly applicable to educational settings ("Doing Education with Benedict"?). If business management is moving in this direction, can educational leadership and management for higher education be too far behind?
I gain hope and challenge from the words of Sister Joan Chittister and since she is infinitely more eloquent, I will end with this quote from The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages: "In the House of Benedict, the principles of life live in ways no words can convey, in the people who carry them out. The call to be what we say we believe becomes a measure of authenticity for teachers, parents and administrators everywhere."5