The continuation of the ethos of Nano Nagle and the Queensland Presentation Congregation in the documents of St Ursula's College, Yeppoon : a case study in document analysis
thesisposted on 06.12.2017, 14:25 authored by J Hanley
Throughout Australia there has been a decline in the numbers of members of religious orders and congregations working in Catholic Schools. Although owned and governed by the Congregation of the Queensland Presentation Sisters, St Ursula's College, Yeppoon, is a school that has no direct daily contact with the Congregation. The College, founded· in 1918, has enjoyed a .long association with the Presentation Congregation, which itself was founded by Nano Nagle in Cork Ireland, in the late eighteenth century. Within the next five to ten years, however, it is very likely that, because of its declining numbers and the ageing of its members, the Congregation will no longer have a governing role in the College. Through a case study approach using a process of document analysis I address the question: "To what extent do the official public documents of St Ursula's College, Yeppoon, continue the ethos of Nano Nagle and the Queensland Presentation Congregation?" The research shows that in a wide variety of College documents there are many explicit and implicit references to the foundational values and ethos. A process of triangulation demonstrates the continuation of ethos from Nano Nagle to the Queensland Presentation Congregation and thence to St Ursula's College, Ycppoon. I also propose a simple and elegant theory of the continuation of ethos, positing that ethos is expressed through living out values, and that, while foundational values remain constant over time, the manner in which they are expressed is culturally and contextually conditioned. This case study has important implications for decisions about the future governance of the College. For example, the study addresses the issue of whether St Ursula's College can be a ''Presentation school" without the presence or direct influence of members of the Congregation, an issue which will become more pressing as new models of governance are explored in coming years. As well, this study will also assist St Ursula's College in its process of school renewal.