HISTORY OF IFRS
The Institute of Formation and Religious Studies (IFRS) began in 1963 as Sister Formation Institute (SFI). It was founded by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines (AMRSWP) to provide a program of studies for young sisters in formation. Patterned after the Jesuit curriculum for seminarians, the original program had been enriched through the years to aptly prepare young religious for their ministry, inculcating in them a broader outlook, a spirit of service, a solid foundation for prayer and greater spiritual maturity.
In the tumultuous years of the 1970s, SFI opted for a more integrated approach that included a critical understanding of contemporary societal conditions as an important aspect of theological education. In the 1980s, the Institute continued to evaluate and update its courses to make them more relevant not only for the students but also for the people they serve. At this time, SFI opened its doors to religious brothers, lay church workers, and an increasing number of Asian religious who found the Institute’s holistic approach to Theology and Scriptures more suitable for their commitment. This move led to the change in name from SFI to IFRS in the 1990s. The Institute’s new name reflects its original purpose of religious formation while broadening its scope to include new areas of religious studies as well as recent major advances in the study of Theology and Scriptures. In all its programs, IFRS initiated a distinctive approach that is contextual, transformational, integrated and inclusive. With these new developments, IFRS sought and received the approval of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to grant degrees for the undergraduate and graduate levels in the fields of Scriptures, Theology, Christian Spirituality and Women and Religion. Two other significant moves were made in the 1990’s: the establishment of the IFRS Foundation, Inc. to manage the operations of the IFRS; and the transfer of IFRS from its original site at the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) compound along N. Domingo Avenue to its new home on Acacia St., Cubao, Quezon City.