Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education (G.R.A.C.E.) is an international research-based partnership between Mary Immaculate College in Ireland, Boston College in the United States, the University of Notre Dame in Australia, St. Mary's University in London, and now the International Office of Catholic Education (OIEC) in Rome. G.R.A.C.E. offers academics and everyone interested in a new, integrated and revitalized approach to Catholic education the opportunity to collaborate in the analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing Catholic schools. Activities include: (1) research and publications, including by doctoral students; (2) a series of lectures; (3) various forms of exchange through a community of practice.


GRACE Lecture Series logo

The G.R.A.C.E. lecture series is a monthly webinar on a topic of interest to Catholic schools around the world. This webinar will be presented by a panel of academics and researchers, with each partnering rotating the organization of various talks. The overarching goal of the G.R.A.C.E. lecture series is to share scholarship and increase dialogue with international colleagues committed to Catholic education.


Risking to Live and Love Like Jesus:  
The Heart of the Teacher in a Catholic School

Tuesday, March 9, 2021, 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST / 7:00-8:30 p.m. GMT

Speaker: Dr. Maureen Glackin, Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference

Leading and learning within a Catholic school requires a singular disposition – one that has the humility to be reflective but the audacity to believe that one speaks in the vernacular of Christ the Teacher in all aspects of the role. This vernacular, which Pope Francis terms the language of the mind, the language of the heart, and the language of the hands, informs not only the professional identity but also the personal formation of the Catholic professional. Using the words of those at the ‘chalk face’, my lecture will explore and celebrate this unique synthesis of the professional, the spiritual and the personal in the life and practice of educators in Catholic schools and articulate the prophetic nature of their role in the contemporary church.




The Distinctiveness and Development
of African Catholic Education

Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EST / 4:00-5:30 p.m. GMT

Speaker: Fr. Gilbert Ezeugwu, Diocese of Nsukka, Nigeria, and doctoral student in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College

Fr. Gilbert Ezeugwu

While Catholic education in Africa is flourishing, it has not been studied and researched to the extent that it has in the global North. The foundation of Catholic education always remains the principles and values of the Gospel, and Vatican and synodal documents. However, cultural traditions and social conditions determine how each of these are uniquely embodied and expressed. Without advocating Afrocentrism or fragmented Catholicism, Fr. Gilbert will discuss why and how an authentic development of Catholic education in Africa must be grounded in its distinct African identity.




Edith Stein: Catholic Education in Service of Personhood

Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST / 7:00-8:30 p.m. GMT

Speaker: Emeritus Professor John Sullivan, Liverpool Hope University

Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, 1891 - 1942) modeled what is at the heart of Catholic education: the fostering of authentic personhood. After an overview of her life and work, Professor Sullivan explores key aspects of her understanding of the nature of persons and of spirituality, before presenting major themes in her writings on education. Edith Stein can still guide and inspire Catholic educators and those wishing to integrate professional work with Christian discipleship.




Shepherding Talent: An Informal Formation Program
for Aspiring Catholic School Leaders

Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST / 7:00-8:30 p.m. GMT

Presenters: Dr. Caroline Healy, senior university lecturer for the MA in Catholic School Leadership and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Programmes and Ph.D. doctoral supervisor at St. Mary's University London; and Associate Professor Dr. John Lydon, director of the MA in Catholic School Leadership Programme and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research and Development in Catholic Education, St. Mary's University London

Shepherding Talent is a pioneering informal formation programme in which teachers identified as having potential for leadership are challenged to explore their vocation to lead. The content of the programme is based around the imperative for all Catholic schools to maintain a balance between school improvement and Catholic distinctiveness. The integrity of vocation and profession in the context of discipleship figures prominently and defines the nature of the seminars. Through workshops, the mission of the Catholic educator is elucidated alongside a consideration of personal disposition and values, inviting a critically reflective response to leadership. This interplay and its impact will be discussed in this chapter alongside the key concepts and ideas embedded within the five constituent modules of the Shepherding Talent programme.

Publications and Media Reports & Events

Here we will list publications, videos, media events and reports related to Catholic Education by researchers associated with the G.R.A.C.E. initiative. If you are associated with G.R.A.C.E. and would like to link to any of your publications here, please contact denise.morris@bc.edu.


Global Catholic Education Report 2020 (OIEC)

The G.R.A.C.E. Community of Practice

Strengthening Catholic education in the current situation, and above all in a Post-Covid19 environment, requires a creative, integrative response, and a platform for thought-leaders, educators, theologians and researchers to gather, encounter and engage these tensions in new ways. Academic conferences have long been popular forums of sharing scholarship and voicing ideas. While these are respectable scholarly arenas in academia, their structure limits the ways in which participants can learn and engage together.

Through the establishment of a Global Community of Practice, GRACE’s holistic approach seeks to foster a familial humanism among participants, emerging scholars and sages. Such relationships help participants notice and respond to the presence of grace, fostering both personal and professional transformation. Participants bring their scholarship and faith to bear on select themes and topics through round-table and virtual conversations, informal discourse, and reflective discussions.

The G.R.A.C.E. Community of Practice is designed to influence three domains of the field of Catholic education:

  • Cognitive: the theoretical and conceptual base of Catholic education;
  • Affective: the formative qualities and experiences that shape the Catholic educator and scholar;
  • Behavioral: the adoption of new understandings which influence the practice of being a Catholic educator and scholar in promoting social justice, while enhancing one’s capacity to foster a ‘culture of dialogue’ towards a global common good.

In these particular ways, GRACE hosts a ‘culture of encounter’ (Pope Francis) where people gather, learn from and grow with one another, contributing to the common good and living a sustainable manner.

The Community of Practice is for everyone interested in a new, integrated and revitalised approach to Catholic education: teachers, chaplains, parents, researchers, established and emerging academics, and thought leaders. In the early stages of the project the focus is on the UK, Ireland, North America and Australia. In its second phase, the project will be actively seeking partners in the Global South.

If you are interested in participating in a Community of Practice, please email the Roche Center at catholic@bc.edu and write "Community of Practice" in the subject line. We will be in touch with you regarding these quarterly conversations!

Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education (G.R.A.C.E.) is an international research-based partnership between Boston College in the United States, the University of Notre Dame in Australia, Mary Immaculate College in Ireland, St. Mary's University in London, and now the International Office of Catholic Education (OIEC) in Rome. Project lead coordinators from each University and OIEC are listed below.


Boston College logo
Notre Dame Australia logo

Professor Philip Booth, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, St Mary’s University, London

Linda Cranley, Senior Lecturer & Co-ordinator, Bed (Primary), University of Notre Dame Australia

Dr. Charles Cownie, Director of Catholic Teacher Formation, Boston College

Dr. Christine Edwards-Leis, Director of the Professional Doctorate in Education and Post Graduate Research Programme, St Mary’s University, London

Professor Chris Hackett, Associate Dean (Religious Education), University of Notre Dame Australia

Dr. Caroline Healy, Lecturer in Educational Leadership and Management, St Mary’s University, London

Dr. John Lydon, Programme Director, Catholic School Leadership, St. Mary's University, London

Dr. Andrew Miller, Assistant Professor, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College

Philippe Richard, J.D., Secretary General, OIEC

Quentin Wodon, International Office of Catholic Education (OIEC)

Dr. Melodie Wyttenbach, Executive Director, Roche Centre for Catholic Education, Boston College
With Carly-Anne Gannon, Roche Center Fellow, Boston College


G.R.A.C.E. Recordings