SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY, Baguio City
In 1911, four years after the arrival of the CICM in the Philippines, Fr. Seraphin Devesse, CICM started a one room elementary school near what is now the Baguio cathedral. Originally intended for ten local boys, the school soon offered intermediate grades and a trade school under the guidance of Fr. Florimund Carlu, CICM and the help of the missionary canonesses of Saint Augustine, later known as the ICM sisters.
From these humble origins, Saint Louis University (SLU) has grown with the demands of its students and faculty to become one of the country’s most respected educational institutions. Located in Baguio City, around 250 kilometers north of Manila, SLU has played a pivotal role in the evolution of its host city into a major metropolis. Known as the summer capital of the country because of its temperate climate, Baguio City is now the center of commerce as well as the center of education in the northern Philippines.
Through the years, SLU has maintained its status as one of the centers of academic excellence in the Philippines that meet international standards in tertiary education. Most of its programs, from the elementary to the graduate level, have received the highest level of accreditation in the country.
Faithful to its vision-mission as a missionary and transformative educational institution that is zealous in developing creative, competent, and socially involved Christian professionals, SLU continually initiates relevant programs and curricular activities. Through its human resources development program, the university offers opportunities for continued professional growth, in the fields of teaching and research, to its employees. At the same time, SLU demands the highest degree of competence in their professional work, resulting in a high performance rating among the students
Aware of its missionary character, the university provides not only proper religious and theological instruction in the classrooms but also opportunities for its students to exercise their responsibilities as young missionaries and aspiring professionals. Its concern for the marginalized and the handicapped are expressed through various outreach programs and extension activities. For instance, the Sunflower Child Center renders intervention services to abused children of the Cordillera. The Medical Outreach Missions Foundation Inc. regularly conducts medical services in remote areas of the region. The Extension Institute for Small Scale Industries Foundation Inc. provides the necessary services and training for the economic development of small communities. The Palliative Care Mission program of the SLU Sacred Heart Hospital provides support to terminally ill patients and their families. The Institute of Inclusive Education focuses on the training of teachers in public and private schools nationwide on how to handle children with disabilities and providing the necessary resources for them, especially the production of Braille books and other appropriate learning materials.
No doubt, with the continuing dedication of all its personnel, students and alumni, the university will continue to be a transforming light in the North.
SAINT MARY’S UNIVERSITY, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya
The university traces its roots to the vision and initiative of Msgr. Constant Jurgens, one of the earliest CICM missionaries to arrive in the Philippines. In pursuit of his dream to establish a school for the Christian education of his parishioners’ children, he purchased a lot and some materials. When he was recalled to Europe, his successor, Fr. Achilles de Gryse, CICM, saw his dream through.
Their efforts resulted in the inauguration of the St. Mary’s Elementary School in June 1928. The high school department was opened in 1934, under Fr. Godfrey Lambrecht. In 1947, the College Department became formally operational with several course offerings. Through the years, many more departments opened with varied and expanded academic programs. The ownership and management of the school was turned over to the CICM congregation in 1967.
In its quest for academic excellence, the university has achieved various levels of accreditation for its programs through the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities. It has gained a reputation as one of the best training institutions for future teachers, having been named one of the five Most Outstanding Teacher Education Institutions in the Philippines in school year 1983-1984, and designated as a Center of Excellence for Teacher Education by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in 1996. SMU is also one of the 30 institutions nationwide granted Full Autonomy by CHED in 2001. Its academic importance was further bolstered when SMU was designated as depository library of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and United Nations for Northern Luzon. Graduates of SMU have excelled in licensure examinations, consistently getting a high percentage of board passers and recording a yearly average of three topnotchers.
The university has remained steadfast to its vision as a nurturing and zealous missionary Catholic educational institution, committed to forming and animating competent, creative, and Christian disciples that are supportive of community endeavors. Its current thrusts include strengthening of multi-disciplinary research, human resource management, faculty development, improvement of educational support services, expansion of national and international linkages, and better community extension services.
SAINT LOUIS COLLEGE, San Fernando, La Union
Since its establishment in 1964, Saint Louis College has been proving its worth as a Beacon of Wisdom in the North. In line with its vision for integral formation of the youth, SLC provides programs that build a dynamic Christian missionary community and enhance human dignity.
To realize its goals, SLC offers relevant curricular programs as well as religious and social activities for the students. In college, there are programs in Teacher Education, Liberal Arts, Business Education, and Engineering and Architecture. Several of these flagship programs have been certified by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities and confirmed by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines. In high school, which has obtained the highest accreditation status, students have a choice between the Basic Secondary Education Curriculum or the Special High School Curriculum. Pre-school and elementary school education are also provided at SLC.
UNIVERSITY OF SAINT LOUIS, Tuguegarao City
The university’s history dates back to Jan. 6, 1965, when Msgr. Teodulfo S. Domingo wrote CICM Provincial Superior Fr. Charles Pieters asking the congregation to open a Catholic school for boys in Tuguegarao. The request from the Bishop of Tuguegarao was prompted by the the appeal of many parents for a Catholic education of their boys in the province. With the approval of the CICM Superior General, Fr. Pieters accepted the appeal.
Guided by the CICM educational apostolate, Saint Louis School was established with a mission to be a beacon for true Christian living, academic excellence, professional responsibility, social awareness and involvement.
In June 1965, Saint Louis School opened its portals to 138 boys enrolled in first year and second year high school. Fr. George Hantson, CICM was the first rector. In 1971, its high school department offered a science curriculum and started admitting girls.
In 1968, the name of the school was changed to Saint Louis College with the opening of the college department, where 236 students had enrolled in four courses. Over the years, more courses were added and at the latest count, the tertiary level had at least 22 programs with nine non-degree programs. One of the latest additions is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, which commenced in June 2004.
In 1977, the graduate school was opened, initially offering Master in Public Administration. For the school year 1999-2000, seeing the need for harnessing potential and for partnership with sister schools, Saint Louis entered into a Twinning Program with Saint Mary’s University in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya for the opening of a Doctor of Philosophy in Science Education. There are currently nine programs offered in the graduate school.
Preparatory and primary school had a late start at Saint Louis, with Kinder I and II opening only in 1997. The elementary school department started accepting Grade I pupils in 1998. This was also the start of determined efforts to change the school charter to reflect its academic expansion.
Consistent with its identity as a beacon of excellence, USL has proven that quality has become a tradition in the university, as seen in the exemplary performance of its graduates. The university has consistently obtained a much higher passing percentage compared with the national passing rate in professional licensure examinations. Three of its graduates have topped the engineering licensure exams, and more than 100 others have obtained high ranking in various board exams in its 42 years of existence, giving rise to USL’s reputation as the “school of topnotchers” in the Cagayan Valley. Its graduates now occupy key positions in government, private institutions, business and industry, and non-government organizations.
SAINT LOUIS COLLEGE OF CEBU, Mandaue City, Cebu
The desire to contribute to the Christian formation of the youth brought the CICM Missionaries to Sudlon, Maguikay, Mandaue City in March 1969. In response to the request of Julio Cardinal Rosales, they established a Catholic high school under the guidance of founder Fr. Wilfried Daels, CICM.
Fr. Daels supervised the construction of the school building and headed a team of less than 20 personnel that took charge of the first batch of 38 boys, who had initially enrolled at the St. Joseph’s Academy. Although it was only partially finished, the school building was blessed by Cardinal Rosales on August 22, 1970. By then, there were 151 students in the school: 103 in first year and 48 in second year.
The following school year, 1971-1972, the Bureau of Private Schools officially recognized Saint Louis School of Mandaue as a separate entity from the boys’ department of St. Joseph’s Academy. Its status was no longer limited to an all-male student population so from then on, SLSM, as it became popularly known, started accepting female students. On the same year, a scholarship foundation was established to help needy students finish their secondary education, and a lay person started serving as school principal. Since then, the Principal of SLSM has always been a lay person.
The next few years saw the construction of several structures in response to the needs of a growing school population and the demands of providing quality education to the youth. On September 1977, the construction of the gymnasium started. It was finished the following year, but it was only in 1986 that the concrete bleachers were added. The Administration Building was finished in June 1980, the Home Economics Building in May 1987, and the male teachers’ dormitory in 1988. The north side building, which was annexed and named after Fr. Wilfried Daels, was blessed by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal on October 1, 1992.
Today, Saint Louis School of Mandaue has become a huge community and has turned into a College. In less than 40 years, the student population has increased to more than 2,700 students coming from Mandaue, Cebu, and neighboring towns. The student population is growing every year, served by a dedicated staff of 87 teaching and non-teaching personnel.
Thanks to the CICM Missionaries’ presence, the Saint Louis College of Mandaue has been recognized as an outstanding academic institution in the city. Its teachers and students have also obtained awards for outstanding leadership, while several alumni have ranked within the top 10 of professional licensure examinations in the country.
MARYHILL SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY, Quezon City
Founded by CICM missionaries in 1972, the Maryhill School of Theology’s beginnings seemed to mirror the events during the turbulent year of the declaration of Martial Law. This period coincided with the time of renewal in the Church after Vatican II Council (1962-65). In previous years, CICM had been rendering service to the formation of seminarians of the local Church in San Carlos Seminary, Manila. The search for renewal led to conflicts. It was time to move on.
Initially, Maryhill in Taytay became the home of a school of theology that gave solid training to a small group of CICM seminarians and guest students from the dioceses and other congregations in the Philippines and abroad. They took up the General Theology Program that follows Catholic Church norms for priestly formation. However, the “Founding Fathers” looked beyond the boundaries of CICM and sought to develop a school that would offer theological and missionary formation, not only to religious and diocesan seminarians, but also to sisters and lay people.
From its original location, MST transferred to the Sister Formation Institute and finally to the current premises beside the CICM Philippines Provincial House in New Manila. This new location made it possible for the school to start the Adult Theological Education Program for non-seminarian students, both lay and religious. Currently, three MA programs are offered : MA Theological Studies, MA Religious Studies and MA Pastoral Ministry. This includes a Summer Theological Institute and the annual Mission Studies Lecture Series, in which a topic of great theological and pastoral significance is discussed in-depth by a panel of speakers before a multi-sectoral audience. From time to time, seminars and symposia are held during the regular semester on issues of national and international interest to help the students relate Christian faith and practice to contemporary realities.
As a graduate theological school, MST aims to prepare students for ministry through a formation program that lays stress on commitment to serve the poor, weak and marginalized as well as to the building of a just and humane social order as hallmarks of an authentic, mature and responsive Christian faith. The basic goal is to form priests, brothers and sisters as well as lay leaders, teachers and organizers who are capable of functioning as advocates, catalysts and sustainers of renewal and transformation in church and society in solidarity with the people. In these roles, they act as living witnesses to the Missio Dei, embodied in the historical and risen Jesus, of realizing the fullness of God’s Reign.
The impact of MST on the contemporary situation here and abroad, especially on the lives of poor people, is best seen in relation to the paradigm shift that the school has sought to pass on to its students. This new way of thinking is centered on a faith that does justice without separating love of God from love of neighbor and self, dynamically integrating these dimensions in the work of inculturated mission and continuing evangelization. The fruits are the many exemplary parishes, schools, organizations and improved lives in the Philippines and other countries that have been benefited from the involvement of MST-trained missionaries, priests, religious brothers and sisters, lay leaders, teachers and organizers.
Source: CICM Centennial Edition, Coffee table book