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Spiritual Mentorship: Called to be Spiritual Director?

November 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Spiritual Direction, Training Programs

Are you called to help others grow in their spiritual life but don't feel like you have the necessary formation?

Over the past several years I have had the distinct pleasure of observing the spiritual mentorship training provided by the Apostles of the Interior Life and the School of Faith under the leadership of Archbishop Naumann in Kansas City, Kansas.

Frankly, although I have been a supporter since I originally learned of this program (even before it emerged), my enthusiasm has only increased with my engagement. In fact, there is little going on in the Catholic world that I am more excited about (with the exception of the Avila Institute).

The Church today is in desperate need of people who know and love their faith, and who can guide and direct others to do the same. If you are one of these people, or if you desire to be, then the AVI Mentorship program could be a life-changing experience for you.

The AVI Spiritual Mentorship Program’s purpose is to:

Form Spiritual Mentors to serve as guide and companion to others on their journey to holiness. It is designed for Catholics who have a desire to develop a deep prayer and sacramental life, increase their knowledge of the Catholic faith, grow in the virtues and help others do the same.

If you feel called to be a spiritual mentor (sometimes called a “director”) but have little or no prior formation in this mission, this really is the best place to start.

Because I know I will receive questions about this, with respect to the Avila Institute, our mission is complementary but with a different emphasis.

Click here to learn more now!

The Avila Institute’s mission is to:

Provide spiritual education and formation to Catholics around the world who are seeking to deepen their understanding and appropriation of the magisterium faithful mystical and ascetical patrimony of the Catholic Church.

The Institute’s purpose is not specifically to produce spiritual mentors but to form all those who desire to deepen their faith and relationship with God. So, the Institute’s mission is more general in scope. For those who are called to be spiritual directors, you might also see the Institute as a perfect next-step after the AVI Spiritual Mentorship program.

for post on spiritual mentorshipIf you feel even partially inclined to help others on their spiritual journey, then both programs will be life-changing for you.

The good news is that the AVI Program is opening their enrollment this month for their May 2015 session which is the beginning of the two year program. Even though this is early enrollment, don’t hesitate because they do have a limited number of seats.

You can learn more about the program by clicking this link here or by going to and then clicking on the Spiritual Mentorship Program link.



Art for this post about spiritual mentorship: Joseph Langford graphic about encounter, unknown provenance, provided by Dan Burke. Avila Institute Logo, used with permission, all rights reserved. Christus Und Die Samariterin Am Brunnen (Christ And The Samaritan Woman At The Well), Angelika Kauffmann, 1796, PD-US author's life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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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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  • Michael Brooks

    What will I have to do to get this going for me? I have maintained a resources such as Vatican II Documents,The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Bible, Collected works of Ss. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, a few works of Late Rev. Thomas Dubay, and some Benedictine Materials.

    • Camila

      Hi Michael,

      Are you a student at the Avila Institute?

      • Michael Brooks

        No, I am not a Student; I’m too poor for any formal Higher Education, as I make only $480 a month.

  • MarcAlcan

    Can this be done on line?

    • Follow the link for more info

      • MarcAlcan

        Thanks very much. Have checked this and it counts me out as I am from way down under 🙂

        • Ah – well – maybe you can join us at the Avila Institute? We have students from all around the world!

          • MarcAlcan

            Camila, thanks very much. I will look into that.
            Dan, you have no idea how much I would love to study there. But circumstances prevent me from pursuing it at this stage which is why I thought online might just be it.
            But I leave all that with the Lord. He knows all my desires and if it is also His desire, it will happen 🙂

          • MarcAlcan – Well – Avila is all online – if it is $$$ – we do provide scholarships. Let us know if we can help.

        • Camila


          All the courses in the Avila Institute are online. The two other activities are a four week apostolate and long retreat. As long as these are approved – these are done somewhere at your convenience.

          Food for thought….

  • Di Anna

    Hello – I made the decision to attend the graduate program at the Avila Institute and I now see this AVI program. My goal is to be a spiritual director. Is this progam more suited toward that goal instead of the Avila Institute program?

    • Camila

      Hi Di Anna,

      A couple of questions will help us determine:

      1) How comfortable do you feel with your catechetical formation?

      2) The AVI program requires 2 weeks per year for two years travel. Do you think you can meet this requirement?

  • DianeVa

    I was wondering if the School of Spiritual Formation 8-week course will be a classroom/online-style presentation of your book Navigating the Interior Life which I love. How will this differ from reading the book. How much deeper will this be?

    • Dear Diane – Great questions. The main portion of my book that we will use is the summary of the three ways but we will dig a bit deeper into the progress of prayer from beginning prayer to contemplation along that path. We will also touch on St. Teresa’s “four waters” illustration and her nine grades of prayer from the Interior Castles. At this point my plan is that we will have sixteen 45 minute lectures with Q&A time in between each one. How much deeper? I hope quite a bit deeper with a lot of opportunity for personal interaction. My goal for this course is that every student walks away with a better sense of how they can deepen their relationship with the Lord in prayer.

  • DianeVa

    Thanks Dan for answering those questions. I participated in your single online “introduction” last year in the fall. So is it more like that? I hope I can enroll so I can grow!

  • DianeVa

    Oh another question. How much time outside of Mondays class is needed?

    • Dear Diana – another good question. Probably about one to two hours of reading or study each week.

  • Dan! How can we possible get something like this Mentorship Programme going on over here in London, UK?! We really REALLY need this over here! Our city is thirsty!! I have so many thoughts as to potential collaborations, but not sure who to approach and how.
    Anyway, I trust Our Lady. She knows what she’s doing.
    Keep fighting the fight for the healthy formation of Spiritual Directors of tomorrow.
    In Him,

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