The Emmaus Programme is a new venture to train and provide spiritual guides for Catholic head teachers who would appreciate such support.
This project has arisen out of the national head teachers' retreat which has received considerable interest. After experiencing the retreat, many heads have asked for spiritual direction or accompaniment but there have not been enough spiritual directors or guides adequately to respond to these requests.
The training programme will consist of half-day sessions once a month over nine months. It also includes a residential individually guided retreat and a residential weekend of training.
The training programme will consist of sessions on spiritual accompaniment, led by Ruth Holgate (Director of Loyola Hall Spirituality Centre) and sessions on basic psychological skills, led by Roger Dawson SJ (Director of St Beuno's Spirituality Centre). The programme is devised and co-ordinated by the Jesuit Institute.
It is difficult to say exactly who might make a good spiritual guide for a serving Catholic head teacher but it would most likely be someone who:
Session 1 - Introduction
Leadership in Catholic Education - Why spiritual accompaniment?
The context and varieties of spiritual accompaniment.
An Ignatian model of accompaniment and spiritual conversation.
Session 2 - Listening
Skills of active listening.
Core conditions of the helping relationship.
Session 3 - Discernment of spirits
For what are we listening? The focus of spiritual accompaniment.
The Ignatian approach to noticing the work of God in the world.
Guidelines for discernment of spirits.
Session 4 - Images of God
The various ways in which people perceive God.
How our image of God affects our faith and our prayer.
The relationship of God image and self-image.
Session 5 - Decision-making
Making faith focused decisions.
Accompanying someone making a decision.
Practical tools for decision making in a faith context.
Session 6 - Mad and Sad
Psychology and spiritual accompaniment.
Recognising when the situation lies outside your competence.
Ways of referring people.
Session 7 - Ethics and boundaries
Elements of good practice in accompaniment - 'dos and don'ts'.
Virtue Ethics - the person who accompanies.
Session 8 - Residential Conference
Practical issues of accompaniment.
Finding supper when accompanying others.