This summer, while attending the Avila Summit, I was handed an envelope; the contents inside marked the conclusion of several years of study, prayer, and growth: a graduate certificate for formation in Spiritual Theology from the Avila Institute.
It now hangs in my office, and rather than marking the end of a journey it actually signals another new beginning. Currently enrolled in a Spiritual Direction certification program and a Masters program, I find myself far more prepared than I would have been—comfortable with theological terms and concepts, familiar with faithful Catholic spiritual writers, saints, and Doctors of the Church, well-versed in spiritual theology and the mystical teaching around prayer and the interior life, and most importantly, even more in love with Jesus Christ.
It wasn’t easy to carve out time for my own spiritual and intellectual enrichment at Avila; in fact, with six children, a full-time job, and a book contract, it was one of the busiest seasons of my life. But I haven’t regretted a moment of it. I feel blessed that I was being formed by some of the best teachers in the Catholic Church who took time in our live classes to get to know me, encourage me, and help me better understand my own calling.
My time at Avila prepared me well for what lay ahead, far before I even knew what that was.
I just said yes to what I felt was my next right thing. And I’m so grateful I did.
I’m not the only one. Some of the feedback from our last semester in the School of Spiritual Formation testifies to the powerful, life-changing content of Avila Institute courses:
“This has been a banner year for making new friendships and deepening more established relationships with the saints. My Avila Institute courses have been chiefly responsible for this development. I have been blessed to encounter God through St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, and St. Benedict. It has been an immersion experience for me which has increased my longing for abiding intimacy with Jesus and the companionship of those whom he calls friends. Thank you!” —student from “Living at the Hand of the Lord: The Life and Thought of St. Edith Stein”
“If you’re striving for sanctity with all sincerity, you can find a safe and welcoming environment where you can deepen your knowledge of the Faith in outstanding classes that are unique and life-changing.” -student from Masterpiece of the Divine Artist: St. Edith Stein’s Artistic Vision of God
“Avila Institute is fantastic. We need to help each other to grow in the spiritual life. One cannot love what one does not know, and the more we know the more we can love! To see the professors themselves not just seeking “book smarts” but an authentic growth in holiness is inspiring and helps to set one’s heart more steadfastly on the things that last forever.” -student in Growth in Holiness: Doctors of the Interior Life
“The Avila Institute has awakened my spirituality and has helped me see it as an ongoing growing process if I just cooperate. Their approach gives you the tools and knowledge to become a saint. Very pragmatic and yet deep and soulful. I feel fully alive.” – student in Introduction to Spiritual Direction
“I am very happy to find a platform or atmosphere in which these teachings are more than taught, rather are seriously embraced. These classes (two now for me) have both been more journey than class. Being a religious, more particularly a Carmelite, this is my first time discussing these subjects in such a familiar way. Often, I have heard these subjects discussed in a more objective one/two-dimensional way, but here they came to life with texture and real lived experience.” – student in Foundations in Prayer and Union with God
“The Avila Institute has been a blessing. It has enriched and impacted my spiritual life as well as welcomed me into a community of fellow pilgrims on the spiritual journey. I no longer feel alone.” – student in St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule and the Little Way
Could the Lord be calling you to deepen your interior life and enrich your understanding of Catholic spiritual theology at the Avila Institute?
We’d love to welcome you!
Image courtesy of Unsplash.