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.
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.
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.
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.”
The Avila Institute is an apostolate of the Apostoli Viae community which is a private association of the faithful dedicated to the living out and advancing the spiritual patrimony of the Church. As such, while Apostoli Viae lives and teaches a Carmelite spirituality among its professed members, the goal of the Avila Institute is to advance all faithful spiritual expressions of the Church. To learn more about Apostoli Viae, go to ApostoliViae.org
Jim is an entrepreneur who was previously focused on transforming small business lending through online services combined with a remarkable customer experience. Under his leadership, Direct Capital was repeatedly on the Inc 500 list and achieved some of the highest customer service ratings in the country. Jim is now focused on delivering a remarkable and joy filled educational experience to the students and families of Saint Patrick Academy.
David N. Calvillo, a former adjunct law and university professor, is now a practicing civil trial lawyer and bilingual mediator with the Calvillo Law Firm. After a profound spiritual experience praying the rosary while on retreat, Calvillo and his wife Valerie founded Real Men Pray the Rosary, launching a global movement of prayer and devotion. Calvillo is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and has served his parishes on pastoral and finance councils and as Eucharistic minister and lector. Calvillo formerly served in leadership of his diocesan chapter of ACTS Catholic retreats and remains active in the organization. He served his community as president of the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen and lives in southern Texas with his wife and their seven children.
Bishop Robert Joseph Baker
Robert Joseph Baker is an American Roman Catholic prelate who serves as the Bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama. He was appointed to this post by Pope Benedict XVI on August 14, 2007, and installed on October 2, 2007. He has written several books.
Baker was ordained for the diocese of St. Augustine in 1970 and sent to Rome for doctoral studies in dogmatic theology shortly thereafter. He has served in turns as a parish priest, campus minister, and seminary formator.
In 1999, Baker was appointed Bishop of Charleston. As bishop of Charleston, Baker presided over rapid growth, thanks to a combination of adult conversion and Hispanic immigration (the state’s population of Roman Catholics boomed by almost 40% to over 175,000 during his tenure). Bishop Baker dedicated new or expanded churches, schools, and parish facilities.
He was transferred to Alabama to become Bishop of Birmingham. The Diocese of Charleston bishopric was filled January 24, 2009.
Paul McCusker is an author and dramatist. His books include The Screwtape Letters Annotated Edition and C.S. Lewis & Mere Christianity: The Crisis That Created A Classic, plus over 20 novels and non-fiction works. His scriptwriting includes the multiple award-winning audio dramatizations of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis At War and the Peabody Award-winning Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom. He is also a writer and director for the popular children’s program Adventures In Odyssey. Paul lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, son and daughter.
Charlie McKinney is President of Sophia Institute Press. Charlie has worked in the non-profit sector for nearly 20 years, serving as Vice President at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire, and in leadership positions at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (Wilmington, DE) and at the Bill of Rights Institute (Washington, DC). Charlie is a board member of the American Principles Project and the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation, and is Chairman of Cornerstone Policy Research, a New Hampshire think tank dedicated to preserving traditional values. Charlie and his wife, Carolyn, live with their five children in Amherst, New Hampshire.
George Harne has served at Northeast Catholic College since 2008, first as a professor and as president since 2011. He has taught courses in Latin, Music, and the Philosophy and Humanities Sequence.
George earned graduate degrees in music history and liberal studies from St. John’s College (Annapolis), the University of Washington (Seattle), and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. His scholarly interests include the intersection of musical and philosophical thought in the Middle Ages, twentieth-century music, and music in antiquity. George has published scholarly articles on medieval music and popular essays on Catholic education, most recently “Finding God on the Quad: Benedict XVI’s Vision for Catholic Higher Education” in the National Catholic Register.
George and his wife Debbie entered the Catholic Church on the Feast of Christ the King in 2006 and have been blessed with five children—four daughters and one son—ages five through seventeen. George’s family and students have been blessed by work of the Avila Institute.