Continuing Education

I have recently gotten a desire to continue my education. I have 7 children, the youngest of whom 8, and I’ve been thinking for a while that it’s time to think about what God is calling me to next. It’s only in the last week that I’ve began to contemplate graduate school.

I have an elementary teaching degree but haven’t really worked in the schools. I subbed for a while, 15 yrs. ago, but have been home, homeschooling and raising my children, working various odd jobs that didn’t take me from home too much. For the last 6 years, I’ve been driving school bus.

What got me started thinking about school was an email ad from the Avila Institute for the Graduate program in Theology. I know I would love this. I listen to a LOT of Catholic radio. It’s all I ever have on in my car - and I spend a lot of time in my car! I’ve done that for years now and, honestly, your average retreat talk or blog articles, rarely hold any new information for me. I find, if I listen to Bishop Baron, I sometimes get a fresh perspective on something, but, you know, he’s a genius. lol

My question is, does it make sense for a Catholic lay person like me to pursue a Masters in Theology? Is there something else that would make more sense? Also, if anyone has recommendations for online programs, that would be great.



It makes sense if you have money to burn and no intentions of earning a living from it.
**It’s beyond rewarding, spiritually. It’s wonderful. **
But MANY of my friends who got their Masters are still working at Fabric stores, tutoring secular subjects, or simply volunteering as catechists.
My one friend ended up defaulting on her student loans…payments were bigger than her house payment, and she had a $250,000 home. Foreclosed on the house. She thought FOR SURE she would be in demand at a parish or at the Chancery even! All she ever got offered was a request to be a volunteer Spiritual Director at a retreat center.

That’s not to say that there are probably stories of people who found a fulfilling job after a Masters in Theology. But seriously, I caution you to think about it HARD.

A Masters in Education will get you a retirement fund, a good salary and flex hours.

Just my 2 cents. :shrug: I should know. I work in the Church. 2 cents is a about right.
Perhaps it’s not about money for you. In which case, go for it. You won’t regret the knowledge, but you have to examine what your end goal is.

I agree with Clare. If you are not in need of a solvent income; go for the Masters in Theology. If you need a livable income to support yourself & future needs; go for the Maters in Education.

Thank you very much. This is the perspective I need. It’s definitely the theology that I’m interested in, more so than the Masters degree itself. I just figured, if I’m going to do the work, may as well have something to show for it! Would it make more sense to just take a class or two? Can I do that and have it transfer to a degree later if I decide to pursue it?

Just make sure you take them from very high level Catholic colleges, like Steubenville, and others that offer distance learning.
You may also consider a certificate in Lay Ecclesial Ministry. 2 years, classes once a week. Spring Hill offers them, and some others as well. Very interesting and a broad scope of classes. The faculty is top notch.
Good luck!

Jen, the Avila Institute is doing groundbreaking work. It cannot be underestimated: This institute can have a similar impact that EWTN had. Why? Because the Church desperately needs to correct it pastoral practice and many times, in my area, hermeneutic on spiritual direction. The founder Dan Burke, in my opinion, carries an apostolic charism to correct the widespread misuse of spiritual direction. If you could be a part of that that would be a great work.

Wisdom, Wisdom, let us be attentive!

It’s funny that you mention the Avila Institute. That’s what got me started looking and who I went back to this afternoon. It looks like it might be exactly what I’m looking for - especially with their option go do it as a master’s certificate or just for personal growth. Much to think and pray on.

You mentioned it in your original post. I give to them quarterly, they are a great group.

Ha! You’re right! I did! lol That’s what I get for trying to do stuff on my mobile device! lol

Let us know what you decide to do…we’re rooting for ya!

I took a look at their website and they offer some very interesting courses, both for personal enrichment and as graduate or continuing education…however, and I mean no disrespect for them whatsoever, under the FAQ section, they state that they are not accredited…not sure what the OPs situation is financially, but if I was going to spend thousands of dollars on furthering my education, I would personally be looking to take courses from an institution that was accredited…maybe it’s the type A personality in me coming out and as I said, no disrespect meant…just my two cents worth…

You are all so sweet! Thank you for the encouragement!!

I do understand your concerns, Schoolteacher, and definitely something to take under advisement. On the other hand, their courses are $150/credit hour vs. $450/credit hour someplace like Stubenbille. Their whole program is $6000. And Avila offers finial assistance through sponsorships. Your point is very valid and, depending on what one plans to do in the future, a very important one. Thank you.

I’m going spend a little more time discerning and talking to my family about it, but I think Avila Institute is the place for me. I know I wouldn’t be able to start for at least 6 months to a year, and it will depend a bit on my husband’s health, which is somewhat questionable at present. Always a lot going on in this family!

Thank you all very much. You thoughts are greatly appreciated .


Jen might not get to read this, but I thought about her while reading Hans urs von Balthasar. Pope Benedict XVI gave an address regarding this theologian and recommended his brilliant work.

He wrote: “the ‘material’ aspect of the world does not even hint at the direction man ought to take if he is to realize himself…Man, therefore, cannot be defined by anything outside of him; he can and must define himself.”

(Theo-Drama: Theological Dramatic Theory, II: Dramatis Personae: Man in God, C. Man 1. Man the undefinable)

Thank you, animalis!

To Mary’s praise of God!

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