Claret Seminary History

It was in the school year 1959-1960 that the first group of six minor seminarians were sent to the Seminario de San Jose of the Jesuits in Quezon City. Upon completing high school or minor seminarian work, the Congrgation accepted two of the six and sent them to Claretville Seminary in Calabasas, california for their Philosophy course. However, these two left later in 1977 & 1978 respectively.

In July 1966, the Claret Minor Seminary in Zamboanga City was founded. Fr. Santesteban and Fr. Agapito Ferrero cared for forty-one seminarians. A number of them enrolled in Cotabato, Davao and Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City.

Certainty was far looming ahead when Fr. Domingo Moraleda, CMF, then superior of the Philippine Province called up Dr. Beulah D. Nuval on February 13, 1985 heralding the news that a college was to be established and if she could be its Dean. With Fr. Angel Ochagavia, CMF, Dr. Nuval ardently worked on the papers necessary to bring the enterprise into a concrete existence.old students

Papers for incorporations were then forwarded to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and were approved on October 8, 1985. Bishop Jose Maria Querexeta, CMF, Fathers Orlando Cantillon, Manuel Sunaz, Renato Manubag and Emilio Pablo, CMF composed the board of Trustees specified with the SEC.

On June 17, 1985, the college was permitted to operate by the then Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (MECS),Academic Year 1985-1986 by virtue of Temporary Permit Number C-040 dated June 24, 1985. The Government Recognition (NCR 030, Series 1987) was issued on March 25, 1987. . The college initially schooled 30 freshman and 14 sophomore seminarians for an AB Philosophy degree.

Then situated along Tandang Sora Avenue, the college had Fr. Emilio Pablo, CMF as its founding Presi­dent with Dr. Beulah Nuval as the Dean, Dr. Rosenda de Gracia as College Secretary, Fr. Angel Ochagavia,CMF, and Fr. Alberto Delvo, CMF, forming the core faculty members. They were joined by a number of Professional Lecturers composed of Professors from the University of the Philippines in Diliman Quezon City: Dr. Adoracion Araiiez (Natural Science); Dr. Prospero Covar (Anthropology); Professor Donata Taylo (Philippine History and Culture and Asian Civilization); Professors Pacita Martinez and Eloisa Bautista (Spanish); Professor Jovita Orara (Pilipino); Professor Aurora Fernandez (Mathematics); Dr. Helen Mendoza (English); Professor Juan Tapales (Political Science); Rev. Orlando Cantillon (Philosophy); Professor Don Bobis (Physical Education); and Lt. Col. Cresenciano Santiago (Citizens Military Training).

tandang soraIn 1988, the 30th of November, the Claret Formation Center transferred to its present site in Sanville Subdivision which Fr. Bruno Torpigliani, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, blessed on December 11 of the same year. It has a physical plant of four modern concrete edifices: the Freshman and Sophomore Dormi­tory which includes the Seminary’s main chapel; the refectory with lavatories on both wings; the Junior and Senior dormitory, and the Academic building. Today, it houses seminarians from freshmen to seniors.
Sometime in 1993, the seminary has erected new features: the Our Lady of the Balete grotto and the Meditation Garden both under the able supervision of Fr. Agapito Ferrero, CMF then Econome of Claret. It was donated by the producers of the movie Multo in the City who took the movie from that very tree.

cccIn the year 2000, by virtue of approval from the formators, the Central Coordinating Committee – John Ryan Cordova, Kjell Daren Aboy, Charles Jocris Mortela and Louie Guades III, renamed the buildings of the seminary. The FS Dormitory was renamed as Stephen Sala Dormitory, after Fr. Stephen Sala, CMF, the first General Superior / Co-founder of the Congregation. The JS Building was named as Joseph Xifre Dormitory, after Fr. Joseph Xifre, CMF, co-founder of the Congregation. The academic building retained its name as Rafael Briega Hall, after the named of Blessed Fr. Rafael Briega, CMF, leader of the 51 Claretian Martyrs of Barbastro beatified in 1999.

In 2002, a new building was erected at the old garden of the seminarians – the now Claret Retreat House, a four-story building with complete facilities for international conferences and meetings. Alongside with the establishment of the Retreat House, the Manualia Field was transformed into a place for reflection, a garden with scattered structures for small group sharing and masses.

The house is flocked daily by retreatants of Claret School (High School) and by groups such as Couples, Marriage Encounter Groups, Religious Congregations, and lay people.

The auditorium was furnished with surround sound for the use of the usually held musical plays. The Audio Visual Room was renovated, expanded, and furnished with an LCD projector and a wide screen. Later in 2006, it was named after Fr. Rhoel Gallardo, CMF under the leadership of Martin Ernest Ele, the CCC Coordinator at that time.

In 2003, the Xifre Dormitory was renamed as South East Asian Claretian Seminary and was given the direct care from the General Government in Rome. Seminarians from Southeast Asia occupied the building. Fr. Devadoss from India headed the delegation. From then on the St. Anthony Mary Claret College Undergraduate Department became an international school. SAMCC had been open to different congregations seeking for the required AB degree in preparation for theology. All of the Filipino seminarians stayed at the Stephen Sala, CMF Dormitory. All of the Freshmen up to the Juniors stayed at the second level and the Seniors occupied the third floor with 2 Vietnamese and 1 Cambodian Diocesan seminarians.

The Claret Seminary Philippines website was launched in July 2003. It was prepared and designed by Louie Guades III.

In 2004, the Xifre building was reclaimed by the Philippine Province after the transfer of the international seminarians to the theology house. The second floor was leased by the International Seminary of the Order of Pius Fathers (Escolapios). The third floor became the residence of the two pre-postulant-theologians. Some of the computers from the computer laboratory of Briega Hall were transferred to the main library for internet connection. The college went online in July 2004 with DSL service from PLDT. At the end of the school year the new landmark of the community was erected by the outgoing seniors.

In 2005, the grotto at the back of Briega Hall was improved and the Landmark was remodeled by the outgoing Seniors. The college finally had its NAWASA water supply. By June, the then Xifre Building was converted to Potulants House. A kitchen was erected at the back of the building and the facilities were refurnished. When the postulants left for their novitiate program in February, 2006, the house was leased by the FUNDACIO lay group, and turned it as their formation house in Southeast and East Asia.

In 2007, a fountain was erected near the Sala Chapel gate, bamboo cottages were placed around the basketball court, new garden sprouted, and the seminary goes Smartbro for internet connection. Likewise, the Audio visual room was named after the late Fr. Rhoel Gallardo, CMF.

In 2008, the Xifre Dormitory was finally re-occupied by the Juniors and Seniors because of the increase of new seminarians occupying the Stephen Sala Dormitory. The former Computer Room-turned-Art Room was converted to become the new Seniors Classroom. The Freshmen now occupies the former Sophomore’s Room, Sophomores transferred to the former Junior Room, and the Juniors transferred to the former Senior’s Room. The Auditorium will undergo renovation and furnishing in the years to come. The Library will undergo a major renovation too by the following year or soon.

2010 marks the Silver Anniversary of the foundation of the seminary.

Forward, the Claret Seminary moves on. It continues to seek the heights. It continues to dream of encompassing a wider circle of missionary service.

It has become a land blessed with glorious vastness. It has become a sultry garden bound to resonate songs of ceaseless praise. It has become a home to young Claretians whose dreams are molded into a Missionary Service.