Emmaus Supervision Program

The Emmaus Supervision Program at Heart of Life is a unique and profound journey. Along the way you’ll discover the art of being a great supervisor. You’ll dive into the theory and be immersed in a community of practice. Supported small group work provides a powerful learning environment. Creative approaches to supervision through lived experience equip you in reflective practice. You’ll graduate with confidence, wisdom and skill to provide discerning, competent, professional supervisory accompaniment.

Religious organisations and churches are now required to ensure all people engaged in ministry have access to independent professional supervision. Religious Sisters and Brothers, Ministers, Priests, pastoral care practitioners, chaplains, spiritual directors and spiritual health workers all need space to reflect on their work in the safe, supportive and rigorous context of professional supervision. Heart of Life fosters a discerning, contemplative and spiritual approach to the formation of supervisors who are able to reflection on soul, role and context.

The program is shaped by the encounter of the two disciples with Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). In supervision, people in ministry set out with companions to reflect on recent experiences in their work environment. Along the way, their story is heard. Jesus helps develop big-picture perspective and contextual awareness. They open the door of their hearts and at a companionable table, bread is broken and new insights are gained. With clarity, they can return to the work context renewed. Emmaus graduates know how to walk alongside another and facilitate a process to enable recognition of what may be hidden, opening eyes and renewing energy and integrity for ministry.

Emmaus students are women and men of varying faith and cultural traditions. The program will suit those who have at least five years’ experience in their particular ministry and are now being called on to supervise others. You might be supervising ministry trainees, novices, curates or pastors and are keen to develop your skills and competence. You might be ready to establish a professional supervision practice to provide supervision to spiritual directors, people in ministry, chaplains, priests, religious or pastoral workers.

You can study Emmaus part-time over eighteen months. Attend in-person or online via Zoom.

The year begins with a two-day introduction followed by four x four-day intensives. One day of each intensive is a retreat experience taking you to a range of settings providing immersive reflective encounters. You’ll also participate in the seminars ‘Discernment’ and ‘Spirituality of Human Life Stages’. In the following year, you join five x monthly professional development gatherings.

The program begins in February and concludes in June the following year. The entire program provides over 200 hours of class time, providing an excellent foundation from which to develop your professional supervision practice.

The Emmaus Formation Team is comprised of:  Joan Wright Howie, Peter Hay and Jo Sullivan.

We are receiving applications for studies in 2024/25.   Closing date:  15 October 2023.
Places in the program are limited – we recommend that applications be submitted as early as possible. Late applications will be considered on their merits.

The Emmaus formation group consists of a small number of participants each year, providing the best environment for the course praxis in particular. For this reason, and because of the level of interest in the program each year, a $500 application fee is payable when candidates apply, which is later deducted from the course fees. The application fee holds a potential seat in the program until a formal Offer of a Place is made. (The $500 fee is refundable if an Offer of a Place is not made.)

Full course fee information is provided in the Emmaus brochure downloadable from this page.

Click to download the 2024 Emmaus brochure

Click to download the Emmaus application form

Census Dates in 2023
The Census Dates below is the final date on which a student may withdraw from the Emmaus Supervision Program without financial penalty.  Withdrawal after the date below will result in a ‘Fail’ being marked on the student’s transcript and no refund will be possible unless special circumstances apply as per the Refund Policy.

Census date – 25/4/23

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Emmaus Supervision Program accredited by a body such as AAOS?

The Emmaus Supervision Program has been recognised by  the Australasian Association of Supervision (AAOS) as a Recognised Supervisor Training Program. Completing the Emmaus course exceeds the recommended hours for theory and practice set by AAOS. Unlike some other supervision training programs, Emmaus graduates will have the requisite training hours to register as an AAOS Supervisor upon completion of the program, if graduates already have three years’ experience as a supervisor.

What is the process for gaining a place in the program?

Generally, we recommend the following:

1/ You have had experience of being in supervision.

2/ You sense a call to become a supervisor.

3/ Attend a Taster session if possible – these are generally held in June and August each year and are publicised on our website.

4/ Have a conversation with us before you submit your application.

5/ Complete application documents, pay application fee, and submit no later than 15 October.

6/ Attend interview.

7/ Undertake psychological test as directed.

8/ Based on steps 5-7, receive an Offer of a Place.


There are many great definitions about Pastoral supervision and what I am learning by being part of the Emmaus Professional Supervision Program. In my own words, it would be ‘in a safe place where I re-visit / re-write the stories of my own practice with the gentle guidance of (a) supervisor/s. Where I can experience ‘joy of being vulnerable’. It is here that we invite and allow God’s Spirit to operate. It is here that with a grateful heart I name my gifts and humbly learn from my mistakes/weaknesses and return to where I came from with new meaning and enthusiasm. It is here that I am learning how to work so that both supervisor and supervisee are receiving God’s Grace (equally and differently).



I can highly recommend the Emmaus program at Heart of Life. The foundation I receive in the weekly classes and the intensives are excellent, in enabling me to become a Supervisor. Not only am I learning but I find the material challenging, exciting and also interactive. Supervision case studies by others in the Emmaus program, are opening so many areas beyond knowledge to the Charism of the Heart. It is a gentle course that calls each participant to continue to be a listener to oneself and to others. I am so glad that I chose this program through the leadership of Joan Wright Howe, Jo Sullivan, Peter Hay and Jeff Hood. It is a life-changing Emmaus walk.



I chose the Emmaus Supervision Program because it offers a healthy mix of the theory of supervision and the practice, with the emphasis being on practice (up to 80 hours through the course). The bulk of these hours are done face to face, in small groups and with supervisees. Some classes have online options. The groups are multi-faith, multi-cultural and practice in a reflective, contemplative way. They provide many challenges, insights, and laughs, and are a great way of learning. The Emmaus Team are all experienced supervisors and model reflective, collaborative practice. They are professional, genuine, approachable, and supportive.