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An Unusual Christmas Gift for the Godward Heart

December 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Prayer, Retreats, Silence

An Unusual Christmas Gift for the Godward Heart


When was the last time that you went on retreat? Have you ever given yourself to holy silence? What about that holy loved one that you have such a hard time shopping for? What about that unholy or semi-holy loved one that is working hard to get on the narrow path?

I have an unusual idea for you.

I don’t know about you but I am pretty picky about retreats and retreat centers. Even when some centers have sound retreat masters or speakers, I don’t like contributing to them if they are not serious about the Catholic faith.

Life is too precious to engage with, or support watered down or tainted theology. Unfortunately, the vast majority of retreat centers I have visited, entertain both, or just don’t have good options for retreats. There is one glaring exception. It is a beautiful little secret here in Alabama that is worth the effort to travel to and experience (along with a few other fascinating spots).

The special place I am speaking of is called Casa Maria Convent and Retreat House.

The sisters at Casa Maria are faithful, hospitable, joyful, and completely given to helping the hearts of their retreatants to heaven. Because of their faithfulness and proximity to EWTN, they regularly bring in the best speakers from around the country and the world. Their prices are very reasonable and their grounds are simple, peaceful, and fitting for a holy retreat. I have personally given retreats, taken retreats, and spent hours of prayer there. I strongly recommend it.

When you make the good decision to give yourself or a loved one the gift of a retreat, here is a photo of the beautiful souls that will be praying for you and helping you as you seek the face of God:


When you come, please be sure to plan to visit EWTN (a mile away) and in particular, the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, which is absolutely extraordinary.

As you are planning your holy adventure, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email at and I will reveal one other secret spiritual gem that you would never know about unless you asked – it is quite remarkable.

Here’s a link to the Casa Maria web site and a video of the property or you can type this link into your browser to find out more:

I hope to see you and your loved ones at Casa Maria and EWTN next year.

Yours in Christ,


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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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  • Fr William Barrocas

    Dear Dan Burke! I am deeply touched by the good spiritual work you are doing in a variety of ways. I pray ? God make your labours more fruitful every new day.Do have a more graced Ember Saturday and weekend the last before Christmas.

    • Cathy

      Fr Barrocas,reading your reply here I was moved to look up Ember Saturday.I had heard of it and now I have learnèd something more in the richness of the church.
      I will mark my new calendar for these days in 2016 x4 .God Bless you This Christmas Seaon!

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