Are You on the Path to Holiness?

The upcoming Fall Quarter at the Avila Institute will feature a Graduate Program course on Introduction to Spiritual Theology taught by Dr. Joseph Hollcraft. You can sign up for this course or Theology of Divine Mercy, Conversion and Suffering by applying for the Graduate Studies Program. Are you on the path to holiness?

Everyone is Called to Grow in Holiness

Avila Institute Graduate Program in Spiritual Theology

“We must have a real living determination to reach holiness. I will be a saint means I will despoil myself of all that is not God; I will strip my heart of all created things; I will live in poverty and detachment; I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.” – Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Do you believe you are on the path to holiness? Let us live differently and love differently as we cooperate with grace so that the character of Christ will be revealed through us. We are called to become saints as we navigate with Christ through our daily trials and sufferings. Every person is called to the path to holiness. As Catholics, we are fortunate to know the true fullness of the Christian faith. We have been given the gifts of the sacraments which allow us to become closer to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. What a blessing! As Catholics, we need to practice fully our faith in a way that reflects the teachings of Christ. Renewing our minds and purifying our hearts through mental prayer is the crux of our relationship with God, and it takes precedence over the way we think and act. We must continually reorder our lives and prioritize Christ first and foremost in every aspect of our daily walk with Him so we can be prepared to endure inevitable trials. To grow in relationship with the Lord is a gift; so we should take seriously this gift of love. Rational exploration and sacred doctrine can be explored to learn about spiritual theology in a way that can reveal the truth about God. So what is Spiritual Theology? One of the best explanations is provided above by Jordan Aumann, O.P., in his well known Spiritual Theology.


“Spiritual Theology takes up the wonder of God’s holiness revealed in the world, the glory of the Divine Presence at work in hidden ways.  It is a study of the holiness of Christ Jesus and all those who participate in his saving mystery in the life of the Church. “ –Dr. Joseph Hollcraft

The Spiritual Theology Program is a forty credit hour graduate level program. The program is designed to be taken over eight quarters in two years, but can also be taken over an alternate schedule of three or four years. The program involves twelve courses, an Apostolic experience, and a retreat experience. In addition to course work, students will build a portfolio that will be used to assess their progress at the end of each year. Successful completion of the program prepares graduates to 1) deepen their relationship with Christ through mystagogical engagement with the ascetical and mystical riches of the Church and 2) engage in parish ministry, catechesis, and other apostolates or professions that require the animating life of Christ to achieve their mission. A graduate student should be well prepared to enter training programs for Spiritual Direction and counseling with advanced standing.

During this program students will learn about the following spiritualities and saints to help them on the path to holiness:

Patristic Spirituality: Emphasis on St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Dionysius Areopagite

Monastic Spirituality: Emphasis on Saint Benedict, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Saint Hildegaard of Bingen, Cecil Bruyere

Mendicant Spirituality: Saint Dominic, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Angela di Foligno

Spanish Mysticism: Saint John of Avila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross

The French School of Spirituality: Cardinal Berulle, Saint Louis de Montfort, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Elisabeth of the Trinity

Contemporary Spiritualities from Middle and Eastern Europe: Saint Faustina Kowalska, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Saint Maximillian Kolbe, Catherine de Hueck, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint John Paul II.

A recent student of the Avila Institute testified to how the Avila Institute helps students on the path to holiness, saying that the Avila Institute is:

Avila Institute, Kristin Aebli, Featured, Graduate Program, Spiritual Theology, Holiness

“The only institution of education I know whose overarching desire is to have their students grow in their spiritual life, and not just in their knowledge.” –Kenneth Mias (Avila Student)

Taught by Dr. Joseph Hollcraft, this systematic presentation of Spiritual Theology and the principles of spiritual direction are geared toward personal appropriation for those involved in the apostolate. Lecture topics include the universal call to holiness, the indwelling of the Trinity, the nature and stages of Christian perfection, the supernatural organism and the Christian life, identification with Jesus and Mary, kinds and stages of prayer, the means to spiritual maturity appropriate for the various states of life, discernment of spirits, and ordinary and extraordinary mystical phenomena. The course will take place Sept 6, 13, 20, 27, Oct 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov 1 on Wednesdays from 9:00 – 11:00 pm EST. Apply to the Avila Institute today! Contact with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope you can join us in letting us help you on your path to holiness!


Art for this post asking the question “Are You on the Path to Holiness?”: Detail of Der Gekreuzigte und San Domenico (The Crucified and Saint Dominic), Fra Angelico, circa 1437-1446, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, PD-Worldwide, Wikimedia Commons.

Profile photo of Kristin Aebli

About Kristin Aebli

Kristin Aebli is the Event Coordinator and Marketing Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Receiving the position was providential and in God’s perfect timing. Although cradle Catholic, in college she reverted and became confirmed in the Church. Kristin graduated with a degree in Communications from Samford University and she still enjoys ministering to college students through the Samford Catholic Student Association. Kristin is happy to be a part of the Firelight college ministry, is involved with Apostoli Viae and also a Young Professionals Bible study. For fun, Kristin enjoys discussing theology with friends, recording her podcast, dancing, singing, cooking, writing and painting. She hopes to continue growing in her faith through the sacraments and involvement with faithful community.

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction.

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