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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 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, the High Calling Seminary Preparation Program, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. In 2018, he launched the annual Avila Summit held at Hanceville, Alabama. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband, father of four, and grandfather of one, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer, speaker and pilgrimage director 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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