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Can I Trust the Mercy Center Spiritual Direction Training Program?

Can I Trust the Mercy Center Spiritual Direction Training Program?

Dear Dan, I was searching for your spiritual direction training programs in my area and noticed an advertisement for the Mercy Center in Colorado Springs. Have you had a chance to evaluate them? Do you recommend them?

EnneagramDear friend, the answer is yes I have had a chance to evaluate their program and another one in the area provided by Benet Hill Monastery and Retreat center. I wouldn't recommend either nor would I recommend seeking spiritual direction from anyone associated with either program. The central reason is that the Mercy Center and Benet Hill are both steeped in a New Age syncretism that is spiritually dangerous and incompatible with Catholic spirituality.

If you would like to learn more, the Holy See provides a helpful document on the subject entitled Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life  explaining the dangers of many of the practices that are taught at the Mercy Center, Benet Hill, and Benet Pines. As for the evaluation of any retreat center or spiritual program, this document is a great guide to understanding and uncovering those things that are spiritually harmful and that should be avoided.

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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, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. 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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  • LizEst

    Thank you Dan! God bless you!

  • Camila

    Holy See’s document herein is truly amazing! Very good.

  • ThirstforTruth

    I would urge all here to read the Vatican document cited here, Jesus, The Bear of the Water of Life. It is incumbent upon us, in this age of the new evangelization, to become informed. This document goes a long way in preparing us to defend the Church against the current onslaught of misinformation. Our culture is saturated with the New Age philosophy; even within some Church members who know not the Truth!

    • Camila

      yes! a thousand yes! (I wish I could press the upvote arrow a thousand times) !

  • Stuart

    Dan, I’m concerned that a ‘my way or the highway’ approach to spirituality as well as for most other things sows the seeds of war. The spiritual journey is long and hard sometimes and I wish you well.

    • Dear Stuart – I think my approach to spirituality is better described as one in humble submission to Christ and His Church. There is no “my way” here, but only “His way” – at least as best as I can understand it as it is expressed through the clear teaching of the magisterium. Jesus said that the way to heaven is narrow and difficult and that few are on that way. I pray you are one of the few, but to be clear, you won’t find that narrow way of Jesus at the Mercy Center or at Bennet Hill. They both have left the path and it is not my testimony that bears witness too this – I simply take their own claims seriously.

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