Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Schools and Centres


First Supervisor

Dr Wayne Tinsey

Second Supervisor

Dr Anthony Imbrosciano

Third Supervisor

Professor Richard Berlach


The mission of the Catholic Church is evangelisation, the purpose of which is conversion. At a diocesan level, the mission is carried out through the agencies of family, parish and school. Every Catholic school is mandated to carry out its part in the Church’s mission through its curriculum that incorporates both Religious Education and planned catechetical experiences. This study was devised to find out some students’ perceptions of their faith, the influences that they perceive on changes to their faith, and to describe how the imagination assisted their faith development and religious conversion. Fifteen Catholic secondary school students from four schools in the Archdiocese of Perth, Western Australia were interviewed in their final year of school. Some also kept journals and some were interviewed again in the year after they left school. The data collected was analysed using methods associated with interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Conclusions were drawn about how the imagination assists faith development and religious conversion. The findings were aligned with the Western Australian Catholic Bishops’ Mandate Letter to the Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia (CECWA) (2009) and recommendations were made to assist the evangelisation of youth in Catholic secondary schools.

This thesis is presented by Richard Patrick Branson, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, School of Education, University of Notre Dame Australia.