Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Gary Cameron

Advisor Role

First Advisor


The motivations of people of faith in the helping field are often misunderstood. In social work, while there has been a growing interest in making space for integrating the clients’ spirituality and practice (Canda & Furman, 2010; Hodge, 2013), the role of the practitioners’ faith in practice has not received much attention. To this effect, there is a lack of conceptual framework that describes their aspirations in helping and caring and what such practice looks like in everyday reality.

This dissertation presents a two-part study each culminating in two different developments. First, in light of a missing conceptual framework, I conducted a content analysis of the work of Jane Addams, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jean Vanier, and Mary Jo Leddy. These five notable leaders in Christian wisdom tradition and public initiatives integrated their faith with practice, each working in different ways for the common good. I systematically reviewed and analyzed their work and abstracted key concepts and themes important to understanding their aspirations and practice. The culmination was the conceptual framework of faith-inspired praxis of love.

To refine the framework, I engaged in a multiple-site case study at three contemporary sites involving The Working Centre, Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto, and Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. The second part of the study presents the site reports and an updated framework based on the new insights gained through field work. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of guiding processes and key elements of the framework and its relevance for social work.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons