March 17, 2012 at around 9:00 a.m., the Claret Formation Center along Tandang Sora Ave was renamed and rededicated. Now it is called the San Antonio Maria Claret Theology House. In the mid 70’s this house was piled brick by brick to begin the Claretian congregation’s desire to spread the whole Philippine province on fire with God’s love. This was constructed with the purpose of housing the professed members of the congregation who are still undergoing formation, stage called the missionaries in formation. This house was the first formation house in Manila.
When vocation for mission grew, the house started to accommodate high school graduates and became a center of formation for college seminarians. When the number of young high school graduates grew, an annex building was created to accommodate the professed community and the college community remained in the red brick house. Under the provincialate of Fr. Domingo Moraleda, cmf a need for a college school system was seen. The professed community transferred to a house in Tierra Verde and the annex building became the college for Philosophy which was called the Claret College of Philosophy, in 1985.
By the grace of the spirit that moves and urges us in the love Christ, vocations were pouring in and this house could no longer accommodate the college community. A new house was constructed for them in Sanville subdivision along Tandang Sora Ave, now named Saint Anthony Mary Claret College.
In 1987 the professed community returned to this house. Since then until now it has remained their home. Since its construction in the 70’s, this house has not undergone any major structural change. It remained the clay brick center of formation, under the mango tree.
But through the unceasing and undaunting spirit of Fr. Santiago Gonzalez, cmf, prefect of economy, who was also responsible for the building of this house around 40 years ago, and in coordination with Fr. Victor Sadaya, the prefect of theologians and the community econome, the house is given a new lease of life. Several utility rooms have been converted into functional and formative areas. Other rooms –library, computer, community sala, were updated to comply with the need of mission for the modern world. And most important of all an Italian artist was commissioned to craft the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The same image found in the foundation room of the congregation in Vic, Spain. The Lady is now aptly titled as the Sedes Sapientiae. An ideal that the formandi must keep in this house. At the core of these renovations is the enthronement of Jesus Christ crucified at the center of the house inside the new oratory.
An unveiling of the new name and ribbon cutting ceremonies started the blessing of the new house. The unveiling of the new name was led by the Theology community superior Fr. Bernardo Blanco, cmf with Fr. Santiago Gonzalez, cmf, which was announced by Fr. Victor Sadaya, cmf. Fr. Leo Dalmao, cmf, the provincial superior and Fr. Santiago Gonzalez, cmf, provincial econome ushered the guests to the newly renovated house after the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new oratory was blessed by Fr. Leo Dalamao, cmf, who in his homily, challenged the theology community to continue to be steadfast in their response to the missionary call, as the province is ever ready to provide facilities to assist and form this response. The affair was attended by several Claretian priests, sponsors, guests and friends.
The community thanks Fr. Leo Dalmao, cmf and the members of the provincial council , and provincial econome, Fr. Santaigo Gonzalez, cmf for the new and vocation nurturing theology house.