Service-Learning, character education and spiritualy in a Catholic University

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Service-learning should aim to form people so they can live well in a world worth living in. The Christian faith conviction that we as humans have a common telos, that there is an ultimate common good, or highest good, that is God, is central to any Catholic concept of service. The practice of the virtues, through service, is the road to this spiritual end. When students engage in meaningful acts of service, there is a “double benefit”: a contribution to the common good of society and the building of one’s own character. Service to others is, therefore, an important virtue to cultivate in students. In this chapter we adopt a character education lens to describe how service and service-learning might be understood in terms of spirituality and the role of Catholic universities. We will describe how Catholic universities traditionally have many features that make them well placed to cultivate the civic virtue of service – required for engaged and responsible citizenship. We will also show how service-learning programmes might be enhanced by focussing on five key-findings from character education research and how these contribute to young people developing habits of service.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpirituality and Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from Service-Learning
EditorsM. Beatriz Isola, Laura Gherlone
Number of pages19
Edition1st adapted
ISBN (Electronic)9789874487285
ISBN (Print)9789874487285
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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