Theses Doctoral

An Integrated Life: Catholic Education of Girls for Motherhood

Reuter, Eileen

This dissertation studies how Catholic schools in a post-feminist world approach the topic of educating women both with a professional mindset but also with a Catholic understanding of the importance of motherhood. The theoretical framework of the dissertation draws on second-wave feminism as well as Catholic scholars on feminism, with a special focus on scholars using Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

The study aims to reveal specifically how four faithfully Catholic high schools in geographically different areas of the United States are united in a mission to educate students to live an integrated life, through a personal faith based on reason, virtue ethics, vocation, and exemplars. Through interviews with alumnae, teachers, and administrators, the study concludes that the schools’ vision of a fully integrated virtuous life is a prerequisite for the girls to peacefully make vocational decisions about balancing professional life and motherhood.

The alumnae and the school administrators show that while the mission is clear, the execution of the mission in all four schools is fraught with tensions because of the conflicts between the integrated life view and mainstream cultural views regarding happiness and fulfillment.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Philosophy and Education
Thesis Advisors
Hansen, David
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 14, 2023