Centre for Leadership Research and Practice, London

Leadership is a particularly important area of concern in western monasticism today. Many monastic communities are coming to understand that the identification, preparation and formation of future leaders is a pressing need.

Dr Wim Vandewiele

Dr Wim Vandewiele (KU Leuven) and Fr Abbot Martin Shipperlee O.S.B. wrote in February 2016. “We are happy that Ealing Abbey will be a ‘promotor abbey (O.S,B,)’ in the initial collaborative network that we will create around the international research line on contemporary monastic communities” that will focus on identity, leadership and communication.

Dr Wim Vandewiele is lead researcher in contemporary monastic communities in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven. He has engaged with three monasteries; Sint Andriesabdij, Zevenkerken (Brugge, BE), Sint Sixtusabdij, Westvleteren (West Vlaanderen, BE) and St Benedict’s Abbey, Ealing (UK) in a search for benedictine collaborations.

We have adopted three focuses of research and practice. They are monastic identity (representation on digital media), monastic leadership, and monastic communication: the development of a toolbox for self-evaluation, positioning and future development of monastic communities.

Fr James Leachman OSB is monastic consultant and Prof Dr Johan Verstraeten is theological consultant for this research project. These two conversation partners strengthen the framework by anticipating as much as possible any emerging questions and expectations and by maintaining a realistic balance of interests.

We all wish to be involved in a medium-term vision on the finance and building of the collaborative network. Our lead researcher suggests a period of 5 years (2017-2022). We hope that the project will continue for longer, so firm foundations are necessary.

The two working languages will be Dutch and English.

Centre for Leadership Research and Practice, London

Centre for Leadership Research and Practice, London

Centre for Leadership Research and Practice, London

We began the initial research project in February 2016. Since then the research face of Ealing Abbey in the larger initiative has become clearer.

13 February 2017: the Abbot’s Council approved the participation of Ealing Abbey for funding a total of 30% for the chair “Leadership, communication and identity in religious communities and organisations” along with De Schommel VZW and Curando are funding (30% professorship: 3 x 10%, this for 5 years: 2018-2022). We officially announced the opening of a Centre for Leadership Research and Practice, London in October 2017.

1 October 2018: KU Leuven and the participant charity Curando (Onze Lieve Vrouw) at Ruiselede, inaugurated the separate ‘Father Léon de Foere Chair’, financed for 50%. The purpose of this chair is to promote academic education and research at KU Leuven in connection with the preservation and advancement of the

  1. Research and promotion of leadership at Ealing Abbey, London (Leadership as influencing).
  2. Religious and spiritual heritage of the intellectual legacy of the non-profit Sisters of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows (Zusters Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van 7 Weeën) Ruiselede, with special attention paid to poverty and society, the future of religious communal living, and apostolic works.

© Ealing Abbey, James Leachman, O.S.B., 21 August 2019