Chevalier Institute

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matt 11:28-30
Home arrow Programmes

The Chevalier Institute Team facilitates a range of programmes, courses and formation experiences for adults in Spirituality of the Heart. Some of these experiences are offered specifically to adults involved in or connected to MSC ministries and others are open to all.

These formation experiences are offered at either the local level or some centralised location.



Summary of Chevalier Institute Programmes and Retreat Experiences



Journey to the Heart - 5 days


This five-day retreat at St Mary’s Towers Douglas Park offers staff from MSC Colleges and other MSC connected schools and ministries an experience in Spirituality of the Heart. In a beautiful and peaceful setting, staff can relax and take time out from the usual commitments of life to gain some perspective, to meet people from other schools and ministries, to reflect and to recreate. Participants will be invited to attend to the movement of love that we call God, which flows through the events of life, and to recognise the sustaining possibility of this love. They will be reminded to keep their gaze on Jesus and to learn from him how to love with a truly human heart.

Nurturing the Heart - 1 day

This programme offers participants an opportunity to stop and take stock. The busyness of everyday life sometimes prevents us from taking the time we need to nurture ourselves and simply ‘be with’ our life experiences. The programme does not offer solutions for specific issues; participants are invited to experience the healing benefits of listening to their hearts and allowing themselves to be still and reflective. The programme draws on our Catholic tradition, scripture and Spirituality of the Heart to offer wisdom and guidance in the face of difficult and challenging experiences. The process of the day is gentle, invitational and reflective. 


The Heart of Pedagogy - 1 day


The Heart of Pedagogy is a programme that offers five hours of endorsed professional development to teachers in NSW and ACT but is also foundational to all beginning teachers and those who are new to MSC education. The course introduces participants to the spirituality, charism, values and philosophy that underpin the MSC Vision in Education, and inform College goals, codes of conduct and policies. The MSC Vision is embedded into every aspect of College life and practice, and offers a framework from which quality teaching and learning and enhanced student outcomes and wellbeing can flow. There is a focus on the importance of the formation of a web of relationships that fosters effective learning communities and is a core value of MSC education.

Heart Centred Leadership - 5 days

This is a five-day, residential programme conducted at St Mary’s Towers, Douglas Park. The programme focuses on the inner journey of the leader by attending to the movements of the heart which shape our leadership. The programme explores the characteristics of Heart Centred Leadership using the research of Kouses and Posner as a framework from which to explore these characteristics. Each of the Kouses’ and Posner’s exemplary practices is reflected on in the light of Spirituality of the Heart and participants are invited to consider the implications of Spirituality of the Heart for their own lives and leadership. There is a focus on the Heart of Jesus as the model for Heart Centred leadership.


The Heart of Our Spirit - 1 day


This programme has been developed as an induction for all staff and board members in MSC colleges. The programme introduces the story of the foundation and vision of the MSC and the historical context of each particular college.  The contribution of those whose names live on in the buildings and culture of the school is highlighted. School songs, footage of significant events and key documents are offered as examples of the way in which the spirit and mission is embedded into the life and practices of the colleges.  New staff are invited to consider how they can contribute to this ongoing spirit.

Teaching with Heart - 1 day

Teaching with Heart is a programme designed for all experienced teachers in MSC Colleges that offers five hours of endorsed professional development to teachers in NSW and ACT. In conjunction with The Heart of Pedagogy it covers all aspects of Professional Standard Six, the mandatory standard to be completed in Endorsed Professional Development. The programme recognizes the complexity of contemporary teaching and the demands of the profession on the lives of individual teachers. The aim of the programme is to develop knowledge, understanding and capacity in maintaining wellbeing and to offer Spirituality of the Heart as a way of supporting, encouraging and deepening personal wellbeing and spirituality.  The connection between critical reflection on professional practice and effective teaching is established and frameworks are offered to facilitate this practice.  Spirituality of the Heart is offered as a way of life that supports personal spirituality, wellbeing and reflective practice. 


You Lead in a Catholic School - 1 day


This programme introduces new staff to the history of Catholic education in Australia and to the core principles underpinning Catholic education.
Participants will be offered an opportunity to reflect on the implications of these principles to their role in the college, to collegial relationships and the delivery of content within their subject area.

Strong in Faith - 1 day

Strong in Faith explores the common motto in all four Australian MSC Colleges – Fortes in Fide.
Participants will be encouraged to explore faith from an expansive and experiential perspective.
The programme will encourage participants to look for the constant presence of the God of love within their life’s journey and to consider faith as the courage to believe and live within the mystery of what cannot be proved, but only experienced.
In the Christian context, faith takes form in the life of Jesus and in our desire to live our lives following the way of Jesus. This requires that we have the courage and the insight to search for meaning and to affirm life and its goodness, despite our doubts, difficulties and sufferings. Above all, faith is an expression of the heart’s ability to love.


Spirituality of the Heart - 1/2 day


This programme offers an explanation of Spirituality of the Heart to staff in MSC Colleges. Spirituality of the Heart is a way of life that is lived by many staff and students in MSC schools and is embedded into every aspect of the life of the College. New staff will be offered a framework, descriptions and stories about Spirituality of the Heart and will be invited to explore the connections to their own lives and the implications for professional practice.

Journey to the Heart - Second Time Around - 5 Days

This five-day retreat is offered at Douglas Park as a follow-up from Journey to the Heart and it builds upon the personal exploration of spirituality and the quest for meaning and purpose that is offered in Journey to the Heart.
The focus of this retreat is the source and nature of the love of God, enfleshed in Jesus, that Chevalier understood to be the remedy for the ills of the world. The retreat will be reflective in nature and will offer time and space away from the commitments of our busy lives to rest, to recreate and to reflect. 


Your Hands are Jesus' Hands - 1 day


This programme has been developed for staff who hold middle and senior leadership positions in MSC Colleges. The purpose of this programme is to assist those in positions of responsibility to recognise that faith leadership is a key aspect of their leadership role and that faith leadership is exercised explicitly and implicitly within their work. The programme reflects on the necessity to create a culture that reflects the spirit of an MSC community, and participants are encouraged to reflect on the Heart of Jesus and to learn from him ‘how to love with a truly human heart’. Time is offered to be drawn into a story of Jesus that has touched each person and to develop a way of re-telling that story as an explicit formation tool for those for whom they are responsible.

Small group reflection days

Small group reflection days (approx 6 participants) on a variety of themes:

  • Pedagogy of the heart (a spirituality of education)

  • Pastoral care as a spirituality of the heart

  • Heart centred leadership (leading with heart!)

  • Leadership team development (cf. collaborative processes)

  • "Heartwork"  (finding heart in your work)

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

  • Praying with Heart

  • Nurturing the Heart


Programmes and formation experiences offered in parishes are on an invitational basis. Some of our general courses are open to members of Parish communities eg the Spirituality of the Heart Course. In addition, the following programmes have been offered in recent years:

Lenten reflection sessions
e.g. Spirituality of the Heart and daily life

‘To be on earth the heart of God: a mini retreat for those in parish ministries’ (½ day)

A variety of ‘sessions’ at various times ….
e.g. Men’s spirituality, liturgical music workshop

Meeting with parish pastoral councils to plan a strategic approach to adult faith formation in the parish

Sessions at the bi-annual MSC Parishes Conference

We are in the process of exploring ways of promoting and facilitating adult formation in spirituality of the heart in consultation with a committee and MSC involved in Parish Ministry.



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