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A New Faithful Spiritual Direction School in Ann Arbor, Michigan!

June 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Spiritual Direction, Training Programs

Dear Friends,

I am excited to let you know about a new school that we are adding to our recommended Spiritual Direction school list. If you live in the region (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and perceive a call to this apostolate, we recommend you contact Jeanette or Tesa to explore the options.

Heart of Christ is a two-year Catholic Spiritual Direction Training Program which began in the HeartOfChristLogoInsert8fall of 2013 in response to a need in our area for more trained spiritual directors.  The program was established by two experienced spiritual directors (Jeanette and Tesa) who are members of Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The program is based on a Catholic worldview, grounded in Ignatian Spirituality and draws on the wisdom of the Saints with an emphasis on biblical principles and the new evangelization.  It is geared toward equipping interested individuals with the tools needed to guide others spiritually.

The content of the program includes topics such as:

  • Discernment of Spirits presented through Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s materials
  • New Life in the Spirit, based on “As By a New Pentecost,” produced by Renewal Ministries
  • Spiritual growth with the Saints based on Dr. Ralph Martin’s work “Fulfillment of All Desire”
  • Theological and cardinal virtues presented by Gerry Rauch from Sacred Heart Major Seminary
  • Prayer and stages of growth in the spiritual life as presented in Avila-Institute’s “Foundations of Prayer” course by Dan Burke

Both the first year and the second year are marked by frequent discussion and teachings regarding practical aspects of spiritual direction including the distinction between spiritual direction and counseling or therapy, boundaries in the art, listening skills and principles of confidentiality.

The first year consists of 30 weekly sessions on Tuesday evenings followed by a 5-day session in June.

Dan with Tesa and Jeanette - Founders of the Heart of Christ School

Dan with Tesa and Jeanette – Founders of the Heart of Christ School

The second year is a practicum with monthly meetings for supervision, and ends with a 5-day session in June.  Both classes meet together for the June sessions.

During the first year, as part of the training, students are taken through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.  Weekly meetings consist of sharing of prayer experiences, teachings, discussions and role play.

The second year practicum is based on each participant directing someone through the Eight Themes of Prayer, by Fr. John Wickham, SJ.  Students are supervised individually as well as corporately throughout this segment.

Classes begin in September and are held at Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

At the conclusion of our first full year, when asked to evaluate their experience, student comments included:

“Life changing, clarifying, practical, salvific for me personally.”


“New hunger for prayer.”

“Significant effects on my spiritual life.”

The heart of Christ is always beckoning to us to come and work “for the fields are ripe for the harvest.”  If you are feeling a particular call on your life from the Lord to accompany others on their spiritual journey, and live within commuting distance of Ann Arbor, consider exploring this program.

They are now accepting applications for a new class in September.  Applications can be found on the website  The cost of the first year of the program is $750.  The cost of the second year is $400.

Please keep this important work in your prayers!

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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, and Divine Intimacy Radio, 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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  • LizEst

    Great to learn of another faithful school for spiritual direction. Thanks, Dan!

  • Dan Burke

    Spread the word!

  • Teresa

    Hi Dan! Do you offer a list of faithful spiritual direction programs elsewhere on this site?

  • Tesa Fleming

    Thanks, Dan. You have made a big impact on the program.

  • Jeannette Barbacane

    Thanks, Dan, for your support. It makes a big difference!

  • Amanda

    Praise God! What a blessing!

  • DianeVa

    Sounds awesome! Wish I lived in Michigan! We need more programs like this throughout the country for the need is so great! Thank you to everyone involved and may God richly bless everyone who is affiliated with this apostolate.

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