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Avila Institute: “Much Needed Haven”

Sr Catherine Avila Institute

Recently, we received some correspondence from Sister Catherine Seychell, who shared her journey to the Avila Institute and how it continues to impact her. We’re reprinting it here, because of what a powerful story it is. We’ll be posting information on upcoming courses soon. My spiritual director had long been trying encouraging me to follow a course in spiritual direction. I was reluctant... Read More

Avila Institute Offers a “Journey of Growth”

Fr José Bautista -

We have a number of priests who attend the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. Today, I’m humbled to share the story that Fr. José Bautista shared with us of the journey of growth he has experienced thanks to Avila. Fr José Bautista Fr. Bautista is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Kissimmee, Florida. He’s originally from the country of Columbia and was ordained in the Diocese of... Read More

You’re Never Too Old to Grow in the Spiritual Life


Spiritual Life This testimonial was submitted by Jeanette Woodley and is used with her permission. I am retired and am a wife, mother and grandmother. I became fully engaged in a spiritual formation experience within “Foundations of Prayer and Union with God.” It’s been a long time since I sat in a ‘classroom’ and I really looked forward to the online teaching sessions, assignments and... Read More

Lives Being Changed Impacts Avila Institute Co-Founder

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Lives Being Changed Recently, we asked Dr. Anthony Lilles, co-founder of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, what the biggest reward he experiences as co-founder, professor, and support of the Institute. He responded, Lives are being changed in ways I did not expect.  Some students share how they have encountered the Lord in beautiful and profound ways, and that as a result, they have found... Read More

The Avila Institute Offers a Deeper Faith Understanding

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Deeper Faith Understanding It’s one thing to hear that taking courses from the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation is life-changing. It’s another thing to experience it. Brother Thomas Elias, FFR, wrote us about his experience: As a Third Order Regular Franciscan Brother, I was in search of understanding and furthering of my spirituality and knowledge of the Catholic faith and Catholic spirituality... Read More

Avila Course “More Fruitful Than I Could Have Imagined”

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Vita Rinaldi just finished her first course with the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. Vita Rinaldi. Photo used with permission. She shared the following: My decision to become a student with the Avila Institute was not any easy one. In fact, I thought about it for more than a year. I just did not see how I could add one more task to my very full day. I was also a little intimidated by the... Read More

Student: Avila “Beginning of My New Life in Christ”


Judy Silvan had only completed three years of junior college and had never taken a theology course prior to starting courses at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation a year ago. When she started her courses at Avila, Silvan said she was not close to Christ. “Because I knew a relationship with Him would give me the strength I needed,” she wrote us, she began “a two-year journey to find... Read More

Avila Institute Was “Exactly What I Was Looking For”

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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... Read More

Avila Institute: “Theological Formation On Your Knees”

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Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Anthony Lilles about his role as co-founder of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. He said, “I had begun to work with Dan [Burke] at Catholic Spiritual Direction when he told me his dream about starting an institute for spiritual formation.  I told him that I thought it was an important effort because many institutes dedicated to this purpose... Read More

Finding a Relationship with God at the Avila Institute

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As staff, we hear over and over that the courses offered at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation are life-changing. This correspondence from a religious brother recently was inspiring for us to read. The brother wrote: I am beginning to believe that a relationship with God is actually possible. As we discussed God’s desire for us and the reason for our creation, I realized that God loves... Read More

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