Supervised pastoral education

Purpose of supervised pastoral education (spe)

In the context of an interdisciplinary team, the student in the SPE program at St. Mary’s General Hospital will develop the self awareness and clinical skills necessary to be certified as a spiritual caregiver in an institutional setting. The Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education (CASC) approved program under the supervision of certified teaching staff will prepare you for chaplaincy at the Basic, Advanced and Supervisory levels according to the Standards of Education in CAPPE (6 students per teaching supervisor is the limit allowed by CAPPE Standard). For more information about CAPPE and its programs visit

The SPE program utilizes principles of adult experiential learning encouraging the participant to take ownership in learning by setting specific measurable learning goals. These goals are written at the outset and are re-assessed and revised throughout the course of the training unit.


Though the primary clinical setting is St. Mary’s General Hospital, off site placements are possible, e.g. other health care institutions, prisons, community social agencies or faith communities. As students reflect on their unique experience of providing spiritual and religious care they will engage peers and the teaching staff in recognizing the impact of their own attitudes, values and assumptions on their personhood and the care giving process. They will explore theoretical frameworks that inform and shape their practice. Using the praxis-reflection-praxis methodology with a focus on their individual learning goals they will determine, at the end of the unit, their own progress and areas for further learning. While continuous feedback by their peers and staff will enhance and ground their experience, students and the teaching supervisor will write final evaluations as a permanent record of their personal journeys.


According to CAPPE standards, the tools used to facilitate learning will include: Weekly Reflection Reports, Verbatim Reports and Seminars, Critical Incident Reports, Interpersonal Relation Sessions (IPR), Didactic Sessions, Pastoral Care Seminars, Individual Supervision, and Worship and Theological Reflection Sessions. Some didactic sessions will be offered in partnership with Waterloo Lutheran Seminary courses and Kitchener Interfaith Pastoral Counselling Centre. Approximately half of the program is spent in a clinical setting, while the balance of the program is in group sessions and supervision. Various clinical placement contexts are possible, including acute care hospital, correction institution, long-term care facility, and community placement, within the Waterloo Wellington Counties.

Time commitment

The summer SPE unit at St. Mary’s General Hospital will involve a commitment to a forty-hour week for eleven weeks, and up to thirteen, if required, for completion of ministry hours with on-going supervision. The fall extended unit is a 2-day, thirty-week program from September to April. There are seminar preparation and assignments to be completed during evening and weekend hours. If placed in a hospital setting, participation in off hours ‘on call’ crisis chaplaincy intervention is essential.

download the application form

Additional Information

  • Parking is complimentary at St. Mary’s General Hospital.
  • After the third week of the intensive unit or 6 weeks of the extended unit, no refunds can be made. To avoid missing deadlines please apply early.
  • Without the processing fee, applications will not be processed. Acceptance into the program is based on the written material submitted with the application form and a personal interview.

For further information or applications forms, please contact:
Michael Chow, M.Div., M.A., Specialist & Teaching Supervisor (Cappe)
Educator and Director, Pastoral Care Services
St. Mary’s General Hospital
911 Queen’s Boulevard
Kitchener, ON N2M 1B2
Phone: 519-749-6790