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

Judy Silhan 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, Silhan 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 this relationship. Avila was the end of my journey and the beginning of my new life with Christ.”

Judy Silhan (Photo used with permission) for post on new life in Christ

Judy Silhan (Photo used with permission)

As a subscriber to, she heard about the Avila Institute, realizing it might just be what she had been searching for. She had been attending a variety of conferences, congresses, and Bible studies, along with reading many recommended books.

“None of [that] helped draw me closer to Christ,” she said. “At that time, I did not even know what the term interior life meant, but after listening to the introduction to Avila, I knew in my heart that my search for a relationship with Christ had finally ended, which actually turned out to be the beginning of a new life with Him.”

Silhan has taken a number of courses through Avila, including The Bible and the Revelation of Prayer, Navigating the Interior Life, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Theology of Divine Mercy, and Conversion and Suffering. She’s currently enrolled in two courses.

The impact of her time at Avila has been transformative. “Before Avila, Mass attendance was an obligation to be fulfilled. Reconciliation was twice a year, Christmas and Easter. My prayer life was limited to a brief thought of thanksgiving at night as I was falling asleep. Though I am a life-long Catholic, most of my knowledge of faith formation was nil due to treatments for mental illness.” (She was miraculously healed of that illness three years ago.)

“The greatest benefit from taking courses at Avila is my relationship with Christ and the burning desire to help others who may be struggling as I was, to find such a relationship for themselves,” she said. “The professors at Avila are not only very academically proficient in the course material they are passing on, but they are compassionate and willing to help those who may find themselves struggling. I also find it very reassuring that I am involved with professors who teach according to the Magisterium.”

But perhaps even more than that, Silhan concluded, “With the Spiritual Battle raging in our culture, we need to prepare ourselves to courageously stand strong against this most ferocious storm of evil. Avila Institute is a great training ground for such an arduous endeavor.”


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Photo provided courtesy of Judy Silhan. All rights reserved.

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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 President and Chief Operating Officer of EWTN News, Inc., 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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