Presence Health

What is CPE?

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an experience-based approach to theological education and pastoral formation for seminarians, clergy and lay persons. It is based on the "action-reflection" model of learning in which students engage in the spiritual care of patients and patients’ family members in a healthcare setting, and reflect on their experiences with an ACPE certified supervisor and a peer group of no fewer than three chaplain interns.

The cycle of action-and-reflection forms the basic rhythm of the learning experience. Combined with classroom instruction and individual supervision, CPE provides an environment in which students grow in deeper self-understanding, pastoral skill, and integration of their life experience and theological understanding. Through CPE students learn to accompany others in times of crisis, assessing their spiritual and emotional needs and resources for coping, and providing support and guidance to promote wholeness and well-being.

A strength of CPE at Presence Health is our mentoring program, which links CPE students with an experienced professional chaplain. Mentors are an important source of support, guidance and information about the particular clinical site to which the CPE student is assigned.

Most seminaries offering the Master of Divinity degree require a unit of CPE as essential training in pastoral ministry. For both lay persons and clergy following a call to professional chaplaincy, four units of CPE in addition to a Master's degree in theology or pastoral studies are required for eligibility to apply for Board Certification by a professional chaplaincy association, including the National Association of Catholic Chaplains and the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Presence Health's CPE program is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Each CPE unit meets the ACPE requirement of at least 400 hours of supervised clinical education, of which a minimum of 300 hours are spent at clinical sites and a minimum of 100 hours in a classroom setting.


Presence Health CPE Program

Currently we offer a CPE internship as a 22-week part-time extended unit. One Extended Unit begins in early September and concludes in early February. A second Extended Unit begins in early March and concludes in late July.   Presence Health is accredited for both Level I and Level II CPE units. The program requires students to attend classroom sessions once a week, work in a clinical setting twice a week and occasionally be on-call overnight for overnight experience. This program is offered at the main Presence Health CPE center on the campus of Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, Chicago, IL, as well as at Presence Health’s component site at Presence Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, IL. Depending on their number of CPE units and their learning goal CPE students may have their clinical experience in one or more of Presence Health’s hospitals or nursing and rehabilitation centers, or at a hospice inpatient unit.

Click here for a current schedule.


Application and Selection Process

Typically six individuals are accepted on a competitive basis to each internship class. You must submit a completed CPE application using either one of the following:

Applicants must have a sufficient background in theology, ministry, spirituality, or other related fields. A bachelor’s degree is preferred.   All applicants must have clearly defined educational objectives for the CPE experience.

Fluency in written and spoken English is essential for success in the program and to ensure patient safety. Applicants must demonstrate objective competency through the admission interview and may be required to submit results from a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination or equivalent exam.

Presence Health accepts students who are highly qualified for its programs. To be considered for admittance the candidate should exhibit strong qualifications for the health profession s/he wishes to pursue. Applicants to the CPE program must possess the following general qualities:

  • Emotional stability and affective maturity
  • Physical and mental stamina
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Sound judgment
  • Empathy for others
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work with peers (in group sharing of clinical work)
  • Ability to learn and function in a variety of settings

Submit your completed Application for Clinical Pastoral Education according to the requirements identified on the application form.

Send by email to:

Or by USPS mail to:

CPE Director
Clinical Pastoral Education
1127 N. Oakley Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

Submitted application materials are reviewed by the Admission Committee on a rolling basis as they are received. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible. There may be a cut-off one month before the unit begins.

If selected, applicants are invited to a personal interview. The applicant will be notified in writing of acceptance or denial shortly after the interview. If accepted, the applicant must respond in writing within one week to the Presence Health CPE program regarding the acceptance offer.

Applicants offered admission to the Presence Health CPE program must also comply with Presence Health’s policies and procedures regarding background checks and health screenings before beginning the program. This includes being required to submit to the following, administered by Presence Health Associate Health Services and Presence Health Human Resources:

  1. Blood titer tests for measles, German measles, mumps and chickenpox
  2. TB skin test
  3. Background check
  4. Drug screen
  5. Fingerprinting
  6. Respiratory “Fit Test”(facial mask “fit” in case of need to visit patients in isolation)

Specific questions about these requirements may be directed to the Director of the CPE program. If applicants have had any of the above-mentioned tests within the previous year they may submit documentation of the tests to the Associate Health Manager.

Failure to comply or to provide requested documentation is grounds for Presence Health rescinding the admission offer or terminating admission.



The Presence Health Clinical Pastoral Education faculty is comprised of an ACPE/NACC Supervisor/CPE Director and an ACPE Supervisor.

Program Director Sister Paracleta Amrich, SS.C.M. has been the NACC supervising chaplain of the Presence Health Clinical Pastoral Education program since May 2003. After spearheading the CPE program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and seeing it through to accreditation by the USCCB/CCA in 1989,Sister Paracleta left the program to become the General Superior of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville, PA from 1992-2000. Subsequently while working on completing her doctoral dissertation Sister Paracleta came to Resurrection Health Care (which later merged with Provena Health to become Presence Health) and focused on bringing the CPE program to a successful reaffirmation of its accreditation by the USCCB/CCA in 2005. Sister Paracleta received her doctorate in theology from Duquesne University in May 2006. In 2012 Sr. Paracleta helped facilitate the reactivation of the ACPE program, which had been accredited in 2006. In January 2013 Sister Paracleta was certified to become an ACPE supervisor.



Tuition for each unit is $650. There is no application fee.

Applicants who are offered and accept a position in the CPE program will need to indicate their acceptance with a letter and a non-refundable deposit of $125 which is applied toward their tuition.


Equal Opportunity

Presence Health upholds all federal and state laws that preclude discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or veteran’s status.

For more information, contact:

Presence Health CPE Office


Sister Paracleta Amrich, SS.C.M.
CPE Director







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