Under the patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the mission of the Avila Institute is to draw Christians worldwide into deeper union with Christ through mystagogically oriented spiritual education and formation focused on the appropriation of the magisterium faithful mystical and ascetical patrimony of the Catholic Church.
Whom do we serve?
- Priests, Deacons and Religious: Those who provide formation to members of their congregations, their orders, and their dioceses.
- Laity: Those involved in the formation of others as Spiritual Directors or Mentors, DREs, Catechists, RCIA Instructors, Baptismal Class Instructors, Parents that home school, Pre Cana Instructors.
- Professionals: Catholic Counselors, Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists, and Chaplains.
- Individuals: All those seeking to deepen their relationship with Christ through the spiritual patrimony of the Church.
- Faithful Poor: The faithful poor around the world often lack the means to deepen their own faith and to aid in the formation of others. The faithful poor are made up of priests, deacons, and religious who have taken a vow of poverty, or laypeople who simply do not have the means to access the level of education and formation we provide without assistance.
How will we serve them?
- Mystagogically Oriented Education Focused on the Pursuit of a Transformational Relationship with God
- Live/Interactive/Online – Location Independent Spiritual Education
- 2-4 year Masters Level Spiritual Theology Program
- Continuing Education Courses
- Personal Enrichment Courses
Commitment to the Magisterium
Based on our conviction that theology is an ongoing conversation among believers that attends to the sacred doctrine of the Church, the Avila Institute in its instruction and content will always seek full accountability and submission to the magisterium of the Catholic Church. We do this not primarily as a duty, but as a joyful embrace recognizing the Blessed Trinity is alive and actively working through the Church as the primary means of redemption and vivification of the Body of Christ and the world. We recognize that in the Catholic Church we find the fullness of truth as well as the greatest depth and breadth of wisdom available to the world on the topic of how human persons can know, love, and serve God and His creation.
Mystagogy and Pedagogy
In the ancient Church, mystagogy referred to catechetical instruction provided after baptism. This instruction sought to engage in a disciplined theological conversation by which the baptized might deepen their encounter with the abiding presence of the Lord. At the Avila Institute, we strive not only to convey vital connections in the content of our faith by which we can provide reasons for our hope (pedagogy aimed at a theological wisdom), but we also aim for a kind of discussion that avails students to the transformational presence of Christ by which our minds are renewed (mystagogy aimed at spiritual wisdom). We do this throughout our course work and other activities by building a community that attends to one another in holy conversation about the great truths elucidated by the Fathers, Doctors, Saints and Mystics, and all this to encourage the practice of contemplative prayer and a deeper understanding of how God is working in the pastoral challenges of the world today.
Ex Corde Ecclesiae
The Avila Institute is completely and energetically committed to the guidelines, directives, and wisdom set forth in Ex Corde Ecclesiae. The following outlines the central commitments we embrace as enumerated under the heading “The Nature of a Catholic University.”
- “A Catholic University, like every university, is a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge. It is dedicated to research, to teaching, and to various kinds of service in accordance with its cultural mission.”
- “A Catholic University, as Catholic, informs and carries out its research, teaching, and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles and attitudes. It is linked with the Church either by a formal, constitutive and statutory bond or by reason of an institutional commitment made by those responsible for it.”
- “Every Catholic University is to make known its Catholic identity, either in a mission statement or in some other appropriate public document, unless authorized otherwise by the competent ecclesiastical Authority. The University, particularly through its structure and its regulations, is to provide means which will guarantee the expression and the preservation of this identity in a manner consistent with §2.”
- “Catholic teaching and discipline are to influence all university activities, while the freedom of conscience of each person is to be fully respected (46). Any official action or commitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity.”
- “A Catholic University possesses the autonomy necessary to develop its distinctive identity and pursue its proper mission. Freedom in research and teaching is recognized and respected according to the principles and methods of each individual discipline, so long as the rights of the individual and of the community are preserved within the confines of the truth and the common good (47).”