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Introducing Catholic Spiritual Direction Spiritual Book Club

June 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Book Club, Dan Burke, Vicki Burbach

Dear Friends,

For many of you, drinking from the pure wells of the Church has become a regular lifeline when unable to find a suitable spiritual director.

As you know, spiritual reading is an essential element to any healthy life of faith. Inside or outside of spiritual direction, it is an absolute must if we desire the abundant life that Christ offers to us.

Given this reality, we are grateful to have a new team member with Catholic Spiritual Direction who has a passion for sharing and discussing the rich treasures of the Church with others. Her name is Vicki Burbach.

for post on spiritual direction book clubVicki is a wife and mother of six children ages 18 months to 13 years. She is a convert to the Catholic Church and an avid reader who organized a Catholic Book Club in Chicago, before moving to Kansas City in 2005. There she started a Classics Book Club among Catholics and that too, evolved into a Catholic Book Club.

Now that she and her family have moved again, she’s hoping to find others who would like to be amazed with her at all that Our Lord has to offer us through Holy Mother Church. Rather than have her start another local club, we thought it would be fun to establish an online book club here!

How will it work? Very simple:

  • We will select a book (always faithful to the Church of course).
  • Readers will each obtain a copy of the book and read it offline.
  • Vicki will determine a reasonable pace of reading (chapter(s) or pages per week).
  • Vicki will regularly post an excerpt and reflections from the current chapter.
  • Readers will be encouraged to comment and interact about the reflection or whatever they have read that they would like to share.

No time for reading at this stage in your life? Then by all means, join Vicki anyway and be inspired by thought-provoking quotes as well as commentary for those of us who would like to develop a heart of “Mary” in this “Martha” world.

PS: Vicki will post at least once a week on Tuesdays. Next week she will profile the first book, Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli, and layout a timeline for our reading together. This is a fantastic book and a great pace to start!

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Ron

    Could be interesting, But what about those that can not afford to buy even a book?

    • Dan Burke

      We are considering setting up a fund for this.

      • Michael Pigg

        May I suggest an online version for this book? 

        • Dan Burke


        • New Name


          Thank you so much for that link. I have the book now. Please keep us updated on any other such sites.

        • Ann P.

          Yes! I like this online version that you recommended very much. And I am so pleased about the new Book Club. God bless you!

          • New Name

            Welcome Ann P. Glad you are joining us! Happy Lord’s Day!

    • New Name


      For this book, Michael Pigg (in these comments) has given us a link from which to download the book for free. I got mine in one second! Happy reading!

    • Heather Letchford


      Perhaps people can access the material through seminaries, diocesan libraries, parishes, etc.

      • New Name

         Great ideas! Thank you Heather.

  • Maria

    I really wish I could join! But the schoolyear just started here so I don’t know how much time I’ll have…I hope the books are available here in Philippines…amazon takes a while to ship…
    Hope to learn from the reflections and comments at least! 🙂

    • New Name


      Go to Michael Pigg’s link and download the book for free! I got mine this way. Even if you can’t read it now that the school year has started, you will still have it to read later.

  • New Name

    Welcome Vicki. Thank you for getting this off the ground. This is exciting. I’m looking forward to reading the books.

    ps. I checked out Michael Pigg’s suggestion in the comments here and downloaded the book for free from the site he sent (the link for that is just a little way down before the book actually starts; click where it indicates and “save as”) It took one second for me to get it. What a terrific way to start the first reading! The good thing is that everyone should be able to get it around the world (in English).

    pps. Please tell us a little more about yourself. Thanks.

    • Vicki

      Thanks for your participation!  I’m one of those people who is so excited about everything I read that I want to share it with everyone I meet!  As a convert, I’m always learning new things and am absolutely in awe of the beauty and wisdom of Holy Mother Church!  I can’t wait to begin this book, and I’m so thrilled that you can download it free -what a blessing to many who want to join us!

  • New Name

     …and we look forward to your insights, Walt. God bless you!

  • New Name

     …and thanks for your comments. We look forward to your insights as well.  God bless you!

  • Becky313

    Welcome Vicki!!

    I am eagerly looking forward to branching out in my spiritual reading, and am so, so happy, to have a place where I know the books are faithful to Church teaching!

    May God bless you, your family, and this, your ministry abundantly.

    • New Name


      You’ll have some great takes on all this literature. Looking forward to it!

  • Vicki

    I have a stack like that too – some I’ve read and many I’ve started reading.  I look forward to having a little accountability – that should mean actually finishing books here and there!  This one has been on my shelf for three years.  I’m excited to finally get started!

    • New Name

      I used to have a stack, then stacks, now shelves! Like you, I’ve read many but have some started and waiting to be finished…or started again! The Scupoli one we will start with wasn’t in the collection. So, I’m excited to begin reading it.

      The rest will have to be done in God’s time.

  • Dan Burke

    Great to have you join us Carlos!

  • New Name

     Welcome! Bienvenido!

  • New Name

    Welcome Mary Therese…and we look forward to all your contributions.

  • quiltbugj j

    This sound great! Looking forward to it.

    • New Name

       Glad to have you join us quiltbugj j

  • Dan Burke

    Thanks Woody – glad you are joining us!

  • Dan Burke

    Diane – it is great to know you will be joining in! I pray that you will find a bit of peace here.

  • Dan Burke

    Glad to have you with us Susan. I gave up my “won’t buy anymore until I finish what I have” resolution about a decade ago! Well, at least this book club approach is more likely to result in thoroughly read books!

  • Dan Burke

    Great to have you Kevin. I spent a great many years studying Calvin’s Institutes and with Hodges and other reformation theologians. I pray that you will find these great Catholic thinkers compelling.

  • RN

    Excellent. I look forward to this. Thanks a lot and God Bless 🙂

    • New Name

       Welcome RN. We’ll be happy to have your perspective.

  • Marian

    Hello Vicki, what a wonderful idea! I, too, am a convert, just joining the Church at Easter Vigil 2011, and so am eager to continue to learn. Upon my conversion to the Catholic faith, I had read some 30 + books as I am a voracious reader and it was so cool how the Holy Spirit was changing paradigms along the way.  I’m so thankful for the spiritual foundation I have had as a commited disciple of Jesus, but am now so thankful for the richness I’m finding in Catholic thought.
    Can’t wait to begin this book with you and all who will participate!
    Bless you for this!


    • Vicki

      Congratulations, Marian!  I’m so excited that you have joined us!  With this many readers, the discussion is bound to be fruitful and edifying!

    • New Name

       Welcome Marian…and we are so happy to have you as a member of the book club and as a member of our faith. We look forward to your contributions.

  • Kathy

    I guess we all have lists, shelves and bookcases full of those ‘must read someday’ books but I often find the Lord points me to the right thing at the right time. I’ve just read the first few paragraphs of Spiritual Combat, and it’s clear that this is the ‘right time’ for me to read this.

    So thank you for doing this, I look forward to learning not just from the book but also from other people’s reflections and comments.

    God bless!

    • New Name

       Hi Kathy,

      Welcome! Thanks for giving us a little advance review of the book. It sounds great.

  • JoFlemings

    Hey! This sounds GREAT! I am really looking forward to this! And this book choice seems ideal for me right now- ;o)

    • New Name

       Looking forward to your insights!

  • New Name

     Welcome Marie. Glad to have you aboard!

  • Vicki

    Hi, Kevin!  I’m so glad you’re joining us!  17 years ago I “read” my way into the Catholic church – those dead guys can be pretty enlightening.  

  • New Name

     Welcome Kathryn. We are happy to have you with us in the book club…and in our faith.

  • New Name

     Welcome judeen. Happy to have you!

  • New Name

     Welcome Genny! Thanks for your comments.

  • New Name

     Welcome Woody! Thanks for your participation!

  • New Name

     Welcome Susan…happy to have you in the club.

  • New Name

     Hey Kevin!

    Welcome. Happy to have you here. You will have some interesting insights. I like your take on the “dead guys.” Some of those folks are saints now; so, all of us will be in good company. God bless you!

  • New Name

     Welcome Diane. May the Lord fill you with his light and peace. May you find a little oasis here together with the rest of us.

  • infinity092813

    Long time lurker, first time commenting. This is fantastic and I look forward to the book club! Thanks!!

    • New Name

      Welcome infinity092813,

      It’s fantastic you will participate…and are a lurker no longer! Ha!

  • GenerationJP2

    I like it. This is like the Oratory’s Graduate and Professional group.

    • New Name

      Welcome GenerationJP2,

      Happy to have you join us!

    • Becky313

      Love your user name!

  • Denz

    This is great! Looking forward to it! Thank you!

    • New Name

      Welcome Denz,

      …and it’s great to have you join us!

  • Iowafarmwife

    Sounds wonderful!

    • Dan Burke


    • New Name

       Welcome Iowafarmwife,

      …and its wonderful to have you join us.

  • Ltqlin

    Count me in!

    • New Name

       Welcome Ltqlin,

      Looking forward to your participation!

  • Becky313

    You never know when you might need that certain book……!!  🙂

    I am so guilty of this….I am juggling close to two dozen books right now……..I am more careful about what I buy now, and it’s funny how the Lord draws me to certain parts of different books that actually compliment one another and reinforce or support and issue or idea I am working on.

    • New Name


      Two dozen books! Blessed be God!

  • Wonone1

    Much needed for spiritual progress.

    • New Name

       Welcome Wonone1.
      …may we all progress spiritually!

  • Marie

    Looking forward to joining this club. I have read the Spiritual Combat before but it is always good to reread it again.

    • New Name

       Welcome Marie,

      …and we’re looking forward to your participation.

  • Milliac

    I am new to the website, and excited to see this reading club. I downloaded the Kindle version for .99. I had to laugh at the comments about not getting any new books until I finish what I have. I think I found a home here with all of you. I’ve currently been listening to Dr Dobbins podcasts regarding Scupoli, so this is great timing. God bless!

    • New Name

       Welcome Milliac,

      Good to know about the Kindle version. It’s certainly very reasonably priced. Thank you for letting us know.

      • quiltbugj j

        Aargh – didn’t realize there was a kindle version – ordered it for nook – which I had to download – oh well!! BTW, there is a 5.99 version, but there is a newer one that is .99 You need to search for the title under Kindle. 

  • abandon56

    I found a hard cover 1948 copyrighted version of this that was slated to be trashed among many books from our parish library.  Thank God for TAN publishing!

    • New Name

      Welcome abandon56! Glad you are joining us!

      Wow! A 66 year old copyrighted version! Not only do you have a good book…but it’s an antique!

  • Schinmd

    count me in!

    • New Name

       Welcome Schinmd! Happy to have you join us!

  • Vicki

    Thanks for the recommendation – I will note it!

  • New Name

     Welcome Valerie,

    Glad this is a good solution for you!

  • New Name

    Welcome Slyoung,

    May we all be strengthened in faith!

  • New Name

     Welcome Mla1020,

    We are so happy to have you.

  • New Name

     Welcome Annettebgs,

    Thank you for joining us in this journey and for your recommendation.

  • New Name

    Welcome Harja,

    For this book, someone has found a place where you
    can download the book for free. After you click on the site, go a
    little way down and you will see a note that talks about downloading it
    there. Just click and “save as.” I got mine that way. It took me one
    second to get it!

  • New Name

    Welcome Rockybebop,

    We’re happy you are participating!

  • New Name

    Welcome brikar,

    …and we look forward to your participation.

  • New Name

    Welcome DeaconJay2010,

    Glad to have you on board with us! Happy Father John’s book is useful to you.

  • New Name

    Welcome SamPerez! Bienvenido!

    So pleased you are joining us!

  • New Name

    Welcome Cecilia,

    We are happy you are joining this journey. It will be good to get your thoughts on this work as well.

  • New Name

    Welcome Karen,

    Thank you for joining…and God bless you too!

  • New Name

    Welcome Jeanette,

    We’re looking forward to your observations!

  • Momduby

    I am excited about the Catholic Book Club idea and looking forward to joining in. I also love the fact that the book is available on kindle and so inexpensive at that!

    • New Name

      Welcome Momduby,

      Glad you found the book on kindle. We’re excited for you to join us as well!

  • Ramiro

    This is great! I look forward to this experience with all of you. Thank you for starting this.

    • New Name

      Welcome Ramiro! Bienvenido!

      …and we look forward to experiencing this with you as well.

  • Maria-Teresa

    Hello! what a great idea! Would love to join.
    Thank you for organizing this!

    Maria Teresa Rizzetto
    London, UK

    • New Name


      Jolly good show! We look forward to another perspective from the home of the 2012 Summer Olympics! God bless you.

  • Heather Letchford

    This is a fantastic idea, I hope and pray that Mrs Burbach does not have to compromise in any way her vocation with her beautiful family in order to do this. Would it be possible to post a list of books to give people time to obtain a copy of what is coming up? I am already reading from the first choice, Spiritual Combat. However if I didn’t already have a copy, it would perhaps take more than the time lapse to obtain one. May god continue to bless all that you do.

    • New Name

      Welcome Heather,

      Thanks for another great suggestion. Glad to have you on board.

  • underhermantle

    This is a great idea. I am looking forward to reading some inspiring Catholic books!

    • New Name

      Welcome underhermantle,

      We’re looking forward to your insights. Great name, btw!

  • Karen

    I am very excited to see this book club. I have enlisted several of my friends too. Thank you so much for offering this. God bless you!

    • New Name

      Welcome Karen (and friends of Karen),

      Thanks for joining. God bless you, too!

  • Castilom75

    I’m fairly new to this web site and have found comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in spiritual journey. The postings and comments have been very nourishing. Thank you all.

    I look forward to this book club and hope to keep up the pace with every one here.

    • New Name

      Welcome Castilom75,

      We will be nourished by your comments as well. Glad to have you here.

  • Dan Burke

    Yes – send them to

  • Dan Burke

    Dear Father we are grateful to have you with us. The instructions will be coming from Vicki soon. Be sure you are subscribed to the posts on this site and you will receive all you need.

  • New Name

    Welcome Dianie,

    Yes, very exciting! God bless you!

  • New Name

    Welcome Cynthia,

    Glad you will be joining us.

  • New Name

    Welcome Alex,

    Thanks for joining the effort. You must have quite a library. We look forward to your participation.

  • New Name

    Welcome Esther,

    Happy to have you here.

  • New Name

    Welcome Father Francisco! Bienvenido, Padre Francisco!

    Aqui se puede obtener el libro (en ingles) gratis. Las instrucciones estan en estas respuestas pero, gracias a Dios, hay tantos que se lo repito aqui. Vaya a este sitio. Baja la pagina un poquito y, despues de la introduccion y antes del comienzo del libro, oprima el “save as”. Asi lo obtuve en un mero segundo (perdone mi ortografia por favor):

    Visite este sitio y Vicki dara mas instrucciones la semana entrante.

    (This is where you may find the book [in English] free. The instructions are in these responses but, thanks be to God, there are so many that I will repeat them here. Go to this site. Scroll down the page a little bit, after the introduction and before the start of the book, click “save as”. That’s how I got the book in only one second [please pardon my spelling]

    Visit this site and Vicki will give more instructions. Visit this site and Vicki will give more instructions this coming week.)

  • New Name

    Welcome Trudymm,

    Thanks for another way for folks to get this.

  • Dan Burke

    Thank you for your encouragement! It is a wonderful privilege to be able to serve you and so many others. Please be sure you engage!

  • New Name

    Hi Stalbot246,

    Thanks for your comments…glad to have you join us.

  • Dan Burke

    Any of them are probably fine. Vicki will have to be descriptive of the ending section (rather than “page”) for those those who are using digital means.

    • New Name

       That will be most helpful. Thanks.

  • Lynn

    I have wanted to join a Catholic book club for 13 years for this is wonderful!

    • New Name

      Welcome Lynn!

      13 years is a long time to wait. Happy you can join us.

  • Claire

    I, too, am so happy to join this book club – I got it on my nook for $4.00.

    • New Name

      Welcome Claire,

      Glad you can join us…and that you have the book already! God bless you.

  • Leebo

    99 cents?? Wow, I just paid 5.99 for the kindle, guess i was too anxious. Oh well, I am sure this experience will be worth a lot more than six bucks. I’m in.

  • Littlestflower1

    Really looking forward to the book club discussions. For those of you using, the book is only 77p! 

    • New Name

       Welcome Littlestflower1,

      Thank you for the information! Others will be interested.

  • Becca

    I love this idea of a Catholic Book Club, and I just realized that the first book is one I happen to have in my own library… one of many in the “must read book” category. This is a great way to begin reading it rather than picking or purchasing another book to read. I usually have 2-3 books going at once, but I just finished two, so this will put me back to 3 books going… oh, well, it doesn’t matter. I love reading and welcome the opportunity to read this book with others….. Thanks! :o)

    • New Name

      Welcome Becca,

      How wonderful you found the book in your own library!

    • Deedeebe

      Becca, You sound just like me. I usually have 3 or 4 books going at a time. I like the fact that we can read an interact with others reading the same book. There are always questions to be answered and now we can ask others for their opinions. Bring on the books. I only have about 700 Catholic books but I could use a few more.

      • New Name

        Welcome Deedeebe,

        700 Catholic books? Ah, you will have much to contribute!

        Nice picture!

  • Melissa

    Hello, I have Kindle on my I Pad. I did see the book on Kindle for $4.95, but not $0.99. Would you be able to tell me where you found it on Kindle. I only padi $0.99 for “The Interior Castle” on Kindle, so I know a lot of the timeless spiritual classics (as well as other classic books) are $0.99. Thank you and God Bless!

  • Dora

    I found the first book, Spiritual Combat on the B&N Nook. I’m so glad. Most of the books I want to read aren’t available there. I haven’t used it much. I’ll have to go charge the battery. I’m looking forward to the start of the book club. Thanks to Vicki everyone at Catholic Spiritual Direction.

    • New Name

      Welcome Dora,

      Guess that charger is going to get a work out. We are happy to have you with us!

  • Cathy

    Thank you for this opportunity!!!!! This first book selection is amazing – I read it a couple of months ago and was astounded at the wealth of spiritual riches contained within. God bless all of you at Catholic Spiritual Direction for your work in building up the Kingdom of God.

    • New Name

      Welcome Cathy,

      Oh, you have the inside track! We look forward to your comments.

  • Ingrid

    Just wanted to thank you for this! I have been searching for some meaningful reading and have been soul searching for a while now – I can’t wait to start! Thank you for this! And may God bless you tenfold for sharing your faith with us and helping us nurture and grow in HIM! :>)

    • New Name

      Welcome Ingrid,

      Happy you will join us. God bless you, too!

  • New Name

    Hi Ocean,

    I did a quick search but didn’t find this book on audio. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Perhaps someone else might know.

    Sounds like there’s another niche to filled out there.

    I hope, somehow, you will still be able to join us.

  • New Name

    Welcome Jennifer,

    Glad we could give a little nudge!

  • New Name

     Welcome Jennifer,

    …and thanks for the information. Others will appreciate it.

  • Dan Burke

    Dear Marguerite – did you purchase Navigating the Interior Life?

  • Wens_Esmero

    What a good book to start with… this is exactly how I am feeling right now in my spiritual life … in a battle.  I really feel so blessed that I was directed to this site…. God surely wants me to win this battle.  God bless us all !!!

    • New Name

       St Michael, the archangel, defend us in the battle!

  • Abena01

    Hi, I am a new member to the Club and I look forward to a wonderful reading experience. 

    • New Name

      Welcome Abena01,

      We look forward to your insights.

  • Mxfreeze

    Welcome !

    • New Name

       Welcome Mxfreeze!

  • roniopb

    The title of the book chosen is calling me to join in. It has been in my library since last Sept. and I’ve been wanting to get to it. I seem to get caught up in the liturgical calendar and concentrate on what is current – this month the unbelievable life of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque – Devotion to the Sacred Heart.
    This site is a wonderful aid for those starving for spiritual direction and a sharing of this awesome gift of faith.  Many thanks and blessings to all who work tirelessly to make it available.
    PS. OPB is Oblate of the Precious Blood.

  • LisaMH

    One can also download a pdf from Google Books. This download has two books. “Spiritual Combat” ends at page 190. This is a photo copy of the 1801 publication with language from that time. There is a little star button in the top right of the page with a drop down menu to download a pdf. I set the print for pages 14-190 at 4 pages per sheet. kind of small print.

  • Diane. E.

    DId I miss Vickie’s timeline?

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