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Christian and Non-Christian Spiritualities

Christian and Non-Christian Spiritualities

You may have heard of the School of Spiritual Formation, where students at the Avila Institute can take courses on special topics to help them grow in the spiritual life. The Avila Institute also has a graduate-level program for those who want to study at a higher academic level. Today's post highlights a course from the program taught by Dr. Anthony Lilles: Christian and Non-Christian Spiritualities. You can learn more and see a full list of upcoming courses here

What distinguishes Christianity from other forms of spirituality?

The answer will be explored by Dr. Anthony Lilles in his upcoming class: Christian and Non-Christian Spiritualities. Dr. Lilles, a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville who received his Doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, is the author of Hidden Mountain Secret Garden and Fire from Above, among other books on the spiritual life. Dr. Lilles is Academic Dean of both St. John's Seminary, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Avila Institute.

The Christian and Non-Christian Spiritualities course explores the distinguishing characteristics of Christian spirituality in relationship to the major forms of spirituality known today. First, it looks at what the nature of spirituality is, what questions it must answer, and then identifies distinguishing characteristics of Christian spirituality to major forms of spirituality today. Participants will be able to better understand authentic spirituality versus those that might impose themselves and thereby mislead a Catholic in modern culture. This course is based on discussions by Hans Urs von Balthasar and the instruction provided by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

The Graduate Program in Spiritual Theology provides students with a convenient, low-cost opportunity to study spiritual theology at the graduate level. At $450 per course, our Graduate Program in Spiritual Theology is one of the easiest ways to obtain a graduate-level theology certification. More academically rigorous than the School of Spiritual Formation, the Graduate Program allows students to dive deeper into the mystical tradition of the Church. Other courses in the program include Introduction to Spiritual Direction, Wisdom of the Saints, Spiritual Direction Foundations, and Mystery of Mary and Her Role in the Spiritual Life. If you join for this summer quarter, you will start off taking an entry-level class: Wisdom of the Saints from Hildegard of Bingen to Thérèse of Lisieux.

The Graduate Program in Spiritual Theology is a 40-credit online graduate program taught by renowned faculty and steeped in the tradition of the Catholic Church. It can be taken over a span of 2-4 years depending on your schedule. Classes are offered in the evening to work around your busy schedule. You can apply for the Graduate Program for studies in Spiritual Theology here. If you have any questions about the graduate program, please contact Candace at


Photography of Dr. Anthony Lilles: provided by Dr. Lilles and used with permission.

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About Dylan Jedlovec

Dylan Jedlovec is an Operations Administrative Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Finishing up an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Economics from Samford University, Dylan is first and foremost a disciple of Christ and a son of the Church. Dylan has a heart for evangelization on college campuses, and has worked closely with FOCUS as a student missionary and served as President of the Catholic Student Association at Samford. As a member of the University Fellows Program at Samford, Dylan developed a love for the writings of the Saints, particularly the Doctors of the Church, through his studies of the core texts of the Western Intellectual Tradition. This love for the rich intellectual tradition of the faith brought him to the Avila Foundation, where he seeks to further the kingdom through feeding Christ’s sheep. In his free time, Dylan enjoys watching baseball, reading, hiking, running, and lifting weights (although you can’t really tell).

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