Mundelein & the Institute for Religious Life Report

Institute for Religious Life

Dear CSD Family, My time with the religious and lay faithful at the Institute for Religious Life at Mundelein Seminary this past week was an absolute joy. I was about_fr_barronmoved to be able to bless the attendees with more than 500 copies of Navigating the Interior Life and to deliver about 200 books to Fr. Robert Barron for his seminarians – all on your behalf. I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to participate in your generosity. I am also grateful for Emmaus Road Publishing for all their support in this effort.

photo-1Rarely have I experienced a more gracious group of people. So many thanked me personally for the book but each time I reminded them that these were gifts of appreciation from you to them. In every book each sister, brother, father, bishop or lay faithful found a letter from Archbishop Naumann written to them about your generosity and our efforts to serve the faithful and train spiritual directors. If you have yet to see the letter, I have copied the text to the end of this note.

As with my recent work with the Nashville Dominicans and the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word, these folks reflected an incredibly positive view into the health and future of the Church. As with my other reports, we have much to be optimistic about. The Spirit is truly working in and through the hearts and minds of untold numbers of the faithful. I really do see the budding of a new springtime of faith in the Church.

The talk I gave was entitled Apologetics of Extraordinary Love and I was very surprised at the number of attendees. We had a packed house with folks sitting on the floor and standing for the duration. One of the most surprising aspects was the response from the youth. After the talk there was a long line which included as many youth as religious.

My time with the many religious in the halls, during meals, and in worship reinforced my commitment that this apostolate will increasingly find ways to serve the faithful poor: both those who are circumstantially poor, and those who have voluntarily chosen poverty. I was stuck by the power of their work in the world and how important it is to continue to serve them both in ways we already provide, but also through a new and exiting program that I spoke with many of them about.

The new project is the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. I can’t say much more at the moment but keep your eyes peeled for more information to come. I believe the Lord has provided a way for us to provide in-depth online interactive formation for the lay and religious faithful around the world through a two year intensive program of study of spiritual theology. Please keep this project in your prayers.

He is Risen!



Letter from Archbishop Naumann

Dear Friends of the Insitute on Religious Life,

It is my great pleasure to commend a gift into your care that has come from the generous hearts and hands of participants in a remarkable apostolate.

The Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction ( family is made up of generous people who have great reverence for those of you who have given their lives to the service of God and His Church. They recognize your loving sacrifice and are grateful. They also desire to honor those of you who embrace your faith with passion and fervor and who may also be considering a vocation.

The fine book provided for you, Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God was written by the apostolate founder Dan Burke who is also the Executive Director of EWTN’s National Catholic Register. Dan has provided an important body of knowledge that is critical for all those seeking to deepen their relationship with Christ and, in particular, those who desire to do so through the practice of spiritual direction.

The reason that I am writing this letter is to commend this book to you but also to make you aware of a complementary apostolic work in my own archdiocese. The AVI Spiritual Mentorship Program (, provides spiritual direction training for priests, deacons, religious, and laypersons who recognize, their solemn and joyful responsibility to help others to come to more fully know and love Christ and His Church.

The need for this work is critical in our time as there is a shortage of people capable of helping others deepen their love and service to our Lord. Please review the enclosed AVI Spiritual Mentorship brochure and Dan’s book and contact if you want additional information. The School of Faith staff is eager to help you personally as well as to be of service to your Religious Community or your Diocese.

With gratitude for your love for Jesus and your service to His Church, I am

Sincerely yours in Jesus, the Lord of Life,

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann


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