Chevalier Institute

An un-reflected life is not worth living. Plato
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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



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Journey to the Heart Retreat - 4 days

This four day retreat at St Mary's Towers Douglas Park offers staff from MSC Colleges and other MSC connected schools and ministries an experience in Heart Spirituality. 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, flowing through the events of their lives, and to recognise the sustaining possibility of this love.

Programme Details

St Mary's Towers Retreat Centre

Heart Centred Leadership - 4 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, attending to the movement of the heart which shape one's leadership.

"Authentic leadership does not come from the outside in. It comes from the inside out. Inside-out leadership means becoming the author of your own story and the maker of your own history." (Kouzes and Posner).


Heartwork - 1 day


This programme honours the role work plays in our lives, acknowledging that our work not only provides us with the means to live, but also plays a role in forming our identity and our sense of worth and wellbeing. Work can also be seen as a means by which we can contribute to the creation of a better world. Participants are invited to reflect on the way in which their skills and talents and life experiences contribute to the building of community. An explanation of Heart Spirituality is offered as a pathway to personal growth and to the building of community.


Teaching with Heart - 1 day

The Teaching with Heart Programme is based on the belief that good teaching grows out of the identity and integrity of the teacher. 'I teach who I am', and my identity and integrity flow from what I believe and from what I choose in life's unfolding journey. The heart is the place from which identity and integrity emerge and Heart Spirituality offers an invitation for teachers to journey into their own hearts and to be attentive to the mystery of their inner 'landscape'. It is the journey to the heart that leads us to the fullness of our identity and to integrity. This journey leads to new ways of being in the world and thus, to be on earth the Heart of God. 'Who I am' finds its fullest expression and bears its riches fruit in relationship, in 'Who I am for'. This is what it means to teach with heart.


The Heart of Pedagogy - 1 day


The Heart of Pedagogy programme is aligned with the intent of the National Professional Standards for teachers in establishing that good teaching is at the heart of quality learning. The Heart of Pedagogy invites participants to move beyond the expectations of the Professional Standards and the Classroom Practice Continuum documents that specify the quality of good teaching, to the 'what more' at the heart of MSC Pedagogy. An MSC understanding of quality learning recognises the importance of deep relationships and collaboration with students, families and colleagues in the creation of genuine learning communities. An MSC understanding of teaching is the active participation in, and creation of a web of formative relationships. It is through these relationships that students, parents and colleagues come to an awareness of God's love for everyone.

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 personally experience the healing benefits of listening to their hearts and allowing themselves to be still and reflective. Participants will be invited to be attentive to their own heart, to honour themselves and to own and claim their experience. The programme draws on our Catholic tradition, scripture and Heart Spirituality to offer wisdom and guidance in the face of difficult and challenging experiences. The process of the day is gentle, invitational and reflective.


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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