The Avila Institute offers Personal Enrichment Courses to those looking to learn more about the rich spiritual patrimony of the Catholic Church as well as for those looking to deepen their relationship with the Lord. It is a chance to enrich your life by increasing your knowledge with convenient online courses. All Graduate Program courses are offered as Personal Enrichment courses, but the amount of work and grading is not as rigorous. Courses may be taken in any order. The prerequisite to take Personal Enrichment Courses is a desire to deepen one’s faith.

Who can or should take personal enrichment courses? The answer is anyone who desires to deepen their faith but whose time and other circumstances require a less rigorous approach than the graduate level program. Here’s a snapshot of those who can and will benefit from this coursework:

  • Individual Catholics Seeking to Deepen Their Faith
  • Spiritual Directors: Spiritual Guides, Spiritual Mentors, etc.
  • Ordained/Religious: Priests, Deacons, Religious, Consecrated, etc.
  • Professionals: Therapists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Chaplains, etc.
  • Apostolate Leaders: Catechists, Directors of Religious Education, Teachers, Administrators, etc.

From a practical standpoint all the classroom and text content is the same as the graduate level coursework. In the graduate program, the amount of time spent on work outside of the classroom would be two hours for every one hour inside the classroom. Each class is two hours long. In the Personal Enrichment program a student can assume the outside of class work to be reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 the graduate level workload. Mid-terms and finals are not required but can be taken if a student so chooses. Personal Enrichment students do not take the Apostolate or Long Retreat.

Graduate Studies Programs Offered: Spring Quarter (March-May)

Application Deadline: Wednesday, February 21st

  • The Bible and the Revelation of Prayer:
    • Taught by Dr. Michael Gama, this course starts with an overview of the revelation of prayer from Genesis to Revelation as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and studies the use of the Bible in the Public Worship of the Church. The Liturgy is the source and summit of the Christian life while the Bible is the soul of theology. Exploring the relationship the Bible and the Liturgy opens up a vision of prayer filled with Patristic insight and the wisdom of the early Church.
    • Dates/Times: Tuesdays, 8:30 – 10:30 PM Eastern Time
      • March 6, 13, 20, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8
  • The Wisdom of the Saints from St. Athanasius to St. Bernard of Clairvaux: 
    •  Taught by Dr. Ben Nguyen, this course provides an overview of the spiritual doctrine of Saint Athanasius, Saint Augustine, Saint Benedict and Saint Bernard. During this first thousand years of the life of the Church, the saints developed an awareness of quaerere Deum, lectio divina, conversatio morum, and habitare secum that informs the whole canon of spiritual literature in the wisdom that follows. Selection of texts has been made on the basis of these themes and their influence on the Schools of Spirituality that follow.
    • Dates/Times: Wednesdays, 7:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern Time
      • March 7, 14, 21, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9
  • Discernment, Degrees of Prayer, and Stages of Spiritual Growth:
    • This course is taught by Dr. Anthony Lilles, and is based on St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Three Carmelite Doctors of the Church, Navigating the Interior Life, and Father Timothy Gallagher’s work.
    • Dates/Times: Thursdays, 7:00 – 9:00 PM Eastern Time
      • March 8, 15, 22, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10