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Avila Institute Was “Exactly What I Was Looking For”

Matthew Manint enrolled in courses at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation in Fall 2014. He’s nearing the end of his second quarter of classes. So far, he has taken Introduction to Spiritual Theology, Gift of the Holy Spirit and the Divine Indwelling, Mystery of Mary and Her Role in the Spiritual Life, and Spiritual Direction Foundations.


Matthew shared that the reason he started taking courses was because he was “desiring a structured series of courses that would assist me with not only my own spiritual growth but would give me the formation needed to expand my ministry of spiritual conferences and mentorship.”

When Sister Susan Pieper of the Apostles of the Interior Life suggested that Matthew consider the Avila Institute to meet his needs, he said, “it appeared to be exactly what I was looking for. I went over the curriculum with my spiritual director, signed up, and couldn't be happier with my choice.”

Matthew was fairly well-read in theology, and Avila has met his needs beyond what he expected. “It is one thing to read books on prayer, but another thing entirely to work through a structured course that requires you to form that knowledge into structured assignments and discussions,” he told us. “I'm also continuously amazed at the depth of the lectures and coursework–I was hesitant when I enrolled due to having taken a few online courses in the past that were a waste of money and undemanding. That certainly has not been the case with the Avila Institute–each class has demanded my best, and there's a true sense of having accomplished something worthwhile when I complete them.”

In addition to all he’s learned, Matthew said his prayer life has also been dramatically impacted. “I find the topics from recent lectures bringing new realizations to my meditations. I feel encouraged by the prayerfulness and fidelity of my classmates and instructors, knowing we're praying for each other.”

Matthew recommends courses at Avila because they “not only bring you in contact with others who are seeking holiness, but provide the structure and formation that can assist with the heart being impacted by the teachings.” In addition, he’s found the instructors to be top-notch: “Each instructor I've encountered has been incredibly competent not only with class preparation but in leading others to a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ through their own witness and their fervor for what they are teaching. Ideally, the student will then bring their own formation and fervor to their local parish and community, bringing that clarity of knowledge to others.”

The greatest benefit, says Matthew, has been “the witness of the professors and the students. Their example affects my life on a daily basis to be more faithful and prayerful.”


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About Nicole Garcia

Nicole Garcia is an Admissions Counselor for the Avila Institute. She is excited to speak with anyone who is interested in learning more about the Avila Institute. All those discerning the Avila Institute are in her prayers. Know that if you feel even a tiny pull or interest, Nicole hopes to hear from you! To learn more about the School of Spiritual Formation or the Graduate Program at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, please contact Nicole at or 520-429-4524.

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