26th Annual Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education Meeting

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Dung Q. Tran, Ph.D., and Michael R. Carey, Ph.D.

All Are Welcome: The Experience of Benedictine Hospitality and Community in a Hybrid Graduate Leadership Education Course

According to Jesuit James Martin (2012), “Live for a few days in a Benedictine Community, and you will soon taste their expansive, welcoming spirit, passed down from St. Benedict – not a surprise for someone who said, ‘All guests should be welcomed as Christ’ (p. 3). As a willingness to enter into another person’s joys, hopes, griefs, and anxieties, monastic hospitality receives guests as they are. Through a rhythm of solitude and community, guests can disentangle from their daily pace to discern authentic needs and discuss ultimate concerns – an outcome that has captured the imagination of pressurized business leaders who desire work that is more meaningful. Consequently, an online master’s program in Organizational Leadership at a Jesuit university in the Inland Northwest of the United States has taken graduate students to a Benedictine monastery in California as part of a course on “Leadership and Community” for over 15 years. This 1500-year old monastic tradition of hospitality and community and its contemporary expression serves as an integrative metaphor for leadership students, especially those interested in adapting design elements from contemplative contexts to support workplace spirituality initiatives. Thus, our paper presentation of pedagogical practices and qualitative feedback from graduate students explores the following questions: 1. What does monastic hospitality and community have to offer contemporary organizational leaders? 2. Why is the experience of living at a monastery and participating in monastic community life so essential to this unorthodox experience of graduate leadership education during such a turbulent time?