Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Divinity College


Joyce Bellous




This dissertation explores the relationship between language and change and assesses the effectiveness of the immunity-to-change language technology for integrating the ecclesial vision of the Centre for Ministry Formation (Saint Paul University in Ottawa) into its ministry formation process. The Centre offers pastoral leadership education for candidates for both lay and ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic Church and its ecclesial vision is a post-Vatican II model of church as communion. In order to ground this exploration of language and change in the context of the Centre's ecclesial vision, I draw upon evolutionary and feminist thought, trinitarian theology, ecclesiology, psychology, education theory, leadership education and organizational development. The immunity-to-change language technology is a language form for deep structural change. Deep structural change is epistemologic change, change in our ways of knowing. The language form is intended to help people make changes to which they are truly committed. In the qualitative research process, I presented the immunity-to-change language technology to persons actively engaged in a variety of pastoral ministries and who are affiliated to the Centre. The ultimate goal of my research process was to assess the potential usefulness of this language form for enabling the Centre's candidates for ministry to identify and work toward changing their built-in resistances to integrating the Centre's ecclesial vision into their own pastoral practice. The findings of this research indicate that the immunity-to-change language is a powerful process for deep structural change. It has the potential to be an effective tool for integrating the Centre's vision into its ministry formation process, if the process includes the appropriate follow-up stages and built-in supports after the initial presentation of the diagnostic phase.

McMaster University Library

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