Located at No.81 Alondras Street, Mira-Nila Homes, Congressional Avenue Extension, Quezon City, Recoletos School of Theology (RST) offers a rigorous ecclesiastical curriculum for Bachelor in Sacred Theology which is affiliated to the University of Santo Tomas Manila and a civil degree of Master of Arts in Theology which is recognized by the Commission of Higher Education of the Republic of the Philippines. RST is owned and administered by the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.

The Conception Period

Before the establishment of the Recoletos Formation Center (RFC), Filipino formands of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, after their novitiate, were sent to Marcilla, Navarra, Spain, for their theological studies.  It was in the early part of the eighties, when Filipino Recollect vocations increased significantly that the possibility of erecting a theology house in the Philippines was seriously considered. A proposal letter was forwarded by the Vicarial Council to the Prior Provincial in Madrid, Spain, on September 17, 1982. In response, the Prior Provincial formed a committee to formalize the proposal with a feasibility study. The committee came out with positive recommendations.  On April 13 and 15 of 1984, the Prior Provincial sent communications to the Vicar granting him the permission to pursue the project. With the legal requirements accomplished, construction of the seminary buildings began.  On May 25, 1985, the Most Rev. Javier Ruiz Pascual, then the OAR Prior General, communicated to the Philippine Vicariate the canonical erection of the Novitiate-Theologate Center as one of the religious houses and formation centers of the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine.

The Early Beginnings

On June 7, 1985, marked the modest beginning of RFC. This house was solemnly inaugurated and blessed on December 5, 1985, to attend to the growing number of formands and also to the desire of having the formation of the religious and priests done within the cultural context in which they would exercise their apostolate. The early years were marked with informal structures and work arrangements. The Priests-Formators in the community helped each other in running the seminary.

Academic Theological Formation

As its initial operation, RFC allowed the theologians to study in other theological centers while they lived the religious community life in an exclusive Recollect atmosphere with the novices who were then housed in the same compound.  Rev. Fr. Emeterio D. Buñao, OAR was appointed as first rector of the fledgling institution, and when the academic formation started, Rev. Fr. Huberto Dunstan M. Decena, OAR, was the Vice- Rector and Dean of Studies.

Due to lack of professors, the School entered into a partnership with St. Vincent School of Theology (Curriculum for the Ordained Ministry) and Adamson University (Master of Arts in Theology) from 1985 to 1987.

Faculty Development Program

It was part of the Vicariate’s plan to progressively improve the roster of theology professors until such a time that the seminarians could have all their studies done in this house. 

Recoletos School of Theology, the Academic Formation Arm of RFC

In 2001, the school adopted Recoletos School of Theology as its official name. A more organized structure has started to evolve during this period.  The academic arm of RFC was named Recoletos School of Theology (RST).  The school has a pool of professors from different religious congregations and dioceses, added to its regular team of Recollect professors. It also has a well-equipped library, and related human and material resources needed for religious formation and academic preparation.  Lay employees were employed to handle responsibilities as non-academic support staff of the school.   

Infrastructures Improved

There was a felt need to improve the physical plant and facilities of the school to answer the need for a responsive theological formation.  In 1994, the Province embarked into an aggressive infrastructure program with the construction of Bulwagang Recoletos, a two-storey building, housing the St. Augustine Library, Audio Visual Room with 120 sitting capacity, Museo Recoleto, Archivo Recoleto, Conservation Laboratory and function halls. 

New Affiliation

Another significant event in the history of the school was the idea of affiliating the school to the ecclesiastical university. In 1995, through the efforts of the RFC Formators and the Dominican Professors teaching in the seminary, RST was affiliated to the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, Manila (Bachelor in Sacred Theology).  Mutual agreement and policies were laid down and were implemented.

Partnership with San Sebastian College Manila

In its desire to become relevant to the demand of the different Orders/Congregations to assist its graduates regarding their problem on graduate education, RST entered into a partnership with San Sebastian College Manila Graduate School in 1987.

A New Type of School

At the time, RFC was still in its infancy, it dedicates itself not only to the preservation of learning and teaching, but also to the advancement of knowledge through research in a dynamic orthodoxy following the Augustinian tradition. Very soon the conduct of research and the training of graduate students with San Sebastian College Recoletos – Manila to carry it out became one of the hallmarks of the school status.  

RST Today

Today, Recoletos School of Theology committed to being a comprehensive ecclesiastical and a civil institution of higher learning — has average all-male clerical students of 60.  The school continues to be the center of theologico-religious formation of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno in the Philippines and maintain its unique status as an all-cleric school.

Through the years the school also accepted different Orders/Congregations such as

Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ)

Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception (CFIC)

Disciples of Hope (DS)

Emmanuel Servants of the Holy Trinity (ESHT)

Eucharistic Healers of Mary (EHM)

Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross (MMHC)

Order of St. Augustine, The Province of Cebu (OSA)

Order of St. Augustine, The Vicariate of the Orient (OSA)

Sons of Divine Providence (FDP)

Since its founding, the school has been led by six (6) Rectors and five (5)  Dean of Studies. The current Rector, Rev. Fr. Bernard C. Amparado, OAR and the current Dean of Studies, Rev. Fr. Emilio Edgardo A. Quilatan, OAR, have been at the helm of the school since 2009. Simple but numerous improvements of the physical facilities included: the kiosks, the Research and Publication office, the covered walk and the student area, installed air-conditioning units to improve working and teaching-learning conditions, and the acquisition of DLP projectors and laptops for each classroom.

The school draws on a more than 25-year-tradition of forming the whole person for a life of service and leadership in the spirit of St. Augustine and the Augustinian Recollection. This diverse community of scholars and student-clerics, characterized by small classes and a values-oriented curriculum, is dedicated to educating students for caritas, scientia et sapientia.

It also saw the birth of the research climate which offered new avenues to critical awareness, shared responsibility and insights. Eventually, teachers will adapt to such climate as a part of professional enrichment and sharpening of skills. In support of research efforts, a School Research Manual was put out in 2011. A Research and Publications Office was set up to be attuned both with the present and with the future so that the school can continue to move forward and remain relevant and responsive to the needs of the times. Student Manual was revised, Faculty Manual was drafted, systems in school operation was well established.  

A New Venture

With a strong and improved faculty line up, the administration felt its readiness and capability to offer independent graduate programs on theology. In June of 2011, the Graduate School of Theology started processing requirements with the Commission on Higher Education towards the establishment of the Recoletos Graduate School of Theology offering Master of Arts in Theology major in Systematic Theology and Church History.  

It was an interesting period in the life of the institution as many big events took place in succession. For one, the school was preparing for the ocular visit by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to evaluate the school’s application to offer a graduate education program.  Nevertheless, the preparation kept the administration. ­­­The visit was scheduled. During the ocular visit, the administration presented a compliance report before the technical panel. Much has happened in AY 2011-2012, so what was intended to be an updating of documents turned out to be an almost entirely new work.

The school’s growth is due to the coordinated efforts and dedication of the administration, faculty, non-academic personnel, students, and the community.  The Recoletos spirit lives on and permeates in all the endeavors of the school as it commits to create an evangelized community.