Mother of Life Centre

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Official name Mother of Life Centre.
Country / Continent Philippines / Asia
Director of the institute Dr. Arnella Francis Clamor.
Legal holder of the institute Notre-Dame de Vie Institute.
Sponsor of the institute Notre-Dame de Vie Institute.
Year of foundation 1967
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) 11 (5 Staff and 6 Employees), plus 15 Part-time Professors and Guest Lecturers.
Staff members of your institute The resident team of Formators are all members of the women’s branch of the secular institute Notre-Dame de Vie.
Contact Barrio San Agustin


Quezon City



Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

Mother of Life Centre.

Director of the institute

Dr. Arnella Francis Clamor.

Legal holder of the institute

Notre-Dame de Vie Institute.

Notre-Dame de Vie Institute.

Vision / mission statement

Vision: Mother of Life Centre (MOL) aims to participate in the evangelizing mission of the Philippine Church by forming its student catechists to be living witnesses of intimacy with Jesus Christ. The two-year program of Mother of Life Centre aims at the holistic formation of its student catechists:

First, by enabling them to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the Christian faith in its doctrinal, moral and worship dimensions, with the capacity to transmit the Christian message intelligently and creatively, and adapt this teaching to the needs and levels of the catechized.

Second, by giving a moral formation that would enable its student catechists to develop strong Christian convictions and live a life of love and service to the Church with integrity and responsibility.

Third, by forming catechists who are able to appropriate the holistic formation received in the Centre, as evidences: by the catechists’ initiative to update themselves intellectually, morally and spiritually; by their care for their students, the community and the environment; by their ability to contend with contemporary issues while remaining rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Mission: Mother of Life Centre commits itself to form catechists after the heart of Jesus through an integral formation that includes the following:

Spiritual formation grounded in Carmelite spirituality: The cultivation of a personal and communal prayer life animated by the sacraments, liturgical celebrations, and other devotional practices.

Theological reflection: The study of Sacred Scriptures, Tradition and Church teachings in the context of our culture and the challenge of the new evangelization.

Solid Intellectual formation: Through the building of intellectual structures and the cultivation of good study habits in view of developing the student catechist’ capacity for critique, analysis and synthesis.

Moral Character Building: The study of Catholic moral doctrine and its personal and social applications, the formation of their Christian conscience, practical education in the human and theological virtues, education in freedom through the catechists’ assumption of personal, communal and ecological responsibility, cultivation of the spirit of service, and the strengthening of Christian moral convictions..

Acquisition of a good pedagogical science: Through the development of effective communication skills, lesson planning ability, the production of catechetical materials, etc.

Main areas of work

Religious Education, Catechesis, Pastoral and Campus Ministry.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

Our participants are single lay men and women who are “college graduates”: This means these have already obtained their undergraduate degree (a four or five year post-High School course program), preferably with Education and/or Theology units. Most of our students are catechists, Religious Education teachers, campus ministry staff or parish workers.

Year of foundation


Organisational structure of the institute

See sketch on original document!

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

11 (5 Staff and 6 Employees), plus 15 Part-time Professors and Guest Lecturers.

Staff members of your institute[2]

The resident team of Formators are all members of the women’s branch of the secular institute Notre-Dame de Vie.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

See attached file: MOL Staff & Faculty Profile Under Revised Curriculum (AY 2012-13).dox.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

Religious Instruction.

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

Catechesis, Religious Education.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

See “Vision/Mission of Mother of Life Center”.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

During their Supervised Pastoral year, our Second Year students work as catechists in the different schools and parishes of the Archdiocese of Manila. After their period of formation, our graduates go back to serve in their respective diocese. All our scholars sign a contract to serve in the pastoral or catechetical ministry for at least 2 years after their two-year formation in Mother of Life Centre.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

With the recent updating of the Grade School and High School curriculum, which adds two more school years to the Basic Education and Middle School Program, we try to develop catechetical modules to address the religious Instruction needs of the different grade levels.

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

The academic is a venue both for developing catechetical modules and curriculum, as well as for publication of academic research in Religious Education.

What notion of God inspires your work?

God is a God of Love. He favours the weakest and the poor. Working for the Kingdom of God means working for the holistic development of the human person.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

Carmelite spirituality grounds our formation program and makes the synthesis of the academic program (graduate level), as well as the spiritual, moral and pastoral formation.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

We have two weekly sessions to help our students analyse and process personal experiences: the Spiritual Life Sessions and the Moral Life Sessions.

The Spiritual Life Session which aims to develop in the student the attitude of receptivity by the cultivation of a personal prayer life. The Eucharist and Silent Prayer (one hour) are part of the students’ daily schedule. The reading of reality here is primarily based on the study of Scriptures and its personal application in one’s life.

The Moral Life Sessions, on the other hand, takes up the lessons and cases that are discussed in the Special Morals modules, and develops the student’s personal appropriation on the ethical principles learned therein. The reading of reality here is based on an assiduous study of Catholic moral and social doctrines, and their practical applications in concrete contemporary cases.

While the Spiritual Life Sessions (SLS) ask the students: “What attitude do I develop to receive optimally the grace of god?”, the Moral Life Session (MLS) asks: How do I collaborate with the work of the Spirit and conform my life (my thoughts, my language, my deeds, etc.) to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? How does this affect the practical realization and integration of my multiple roles in the family, in Church, and in society?

We believe that the integration of all programs (academic, spiritual, and moral) – and this, at the graduate school level remains the best preparation for pastoral work.

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

We do insist first on a solid intellectual and moral formation, based on a real prayer and sacramental life, believing that the transformation of society begins first with a conversion of mind and heart.

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

Mother of Life Center is a Graduate School offering a Master’s Degree in Religious Education, it gives a holistic formation through academic courses, workshops in Scriptures, Special Morals modules (Virtue Ethics, Bioethics, Special Ethics, Media Education, Good Government and the Social Doctrines of the Church), Spiritual Life sessions, practice teaching during the Supervised Pastoral Year, production of catechetical modules and materials, etc.

The formation program involves a two-year internship at the Center in Novaliches, Quezon City.

The Frist year focuses on the Academic Courses (30 units), as well as the Spiritual and Moral Formation Programs.

The Second Year is the Supervised Pastoral Year, with Practice Teaching (3 units) and Curriculum Development Workshops undertaken in direct relation to their Religious Pedagogy Course.

During this Second Year, they complete the dogma course and finish all other academic requirement: Comprehensive Exams, Academic thesis or Ministry Project.

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

Mother of Life Center used to publish catechetical modules and teacher aids on the Sacraments and on the Formation of Conscience for Grade School and High School Students. Unfortunately, this was not adequately followed up for want of manpower, especially writers.

Because we are a Graduate School under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), which requires a modicum of research and publication, we are working with other catechetical centers and Religious Education institutions in the Archdiocese of Manila to revive the catechetical magazine Docete, and introduce an academic journal element. We are still in the planning and organizational stage.

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

The main work of Mother of Life Center is the formation of Catechists and Religious Educators grounded in the holistic integration of academic, spiritual, moral and pastoral programs.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

This is indeed very challenging work! To our knowledge, we are the only catechetical center in the Philippines that tries to develop the spiritual, moral and pastoral programs at the same level as the graduate school academic program; hence, the two-year internship period at the Center under the revised curriculum.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

Overhauling of MOL’s Formation Program on all levels: academic, spiritual, moral and pastoral. Overhauling of both Staff and Structures: New Administration, New Curriculum, Formation Program that is updated and truly adapted to the graduate level.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

Funding: To be able to sustain quality formation and support structures at the graduate level, we need to find stable funding sources. This has become a major strain for our Finance Officer.


It is difficult to fond applicants with both modicum capacity to do graduate level work and the good motivation for service. Some or our graduates, who are breadwinners for their families, do not remain for long in the catechetical and pastoral ministry because if inadequate remuneration.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

Manpower: It is very challenging to bring together a Team of Professors and Formators with both professional competence and Christian commitment. So far we are able to form a good team, but we also have to foresee finding and developing people to be trained as Formators, and to take over the administration of Mother of Live Center in the future.

Meeting the demands of the different programs, as well as the requirements of the different supervisory bodies: It is a challenge to find an equilibrium between the meeting the academic standards of an external regulatory body (i.e. the Commission on Higher Education or CHED), and the multiple demands of the apostolate. On the level of the formation program, the challenge remains that of realizing a practical synthesis of intellectual, moral, spiritual and pastoral formation on the graduate level.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

This is a pressing practical concern: We hope to be able to establish a scholarship foundation that will assure the financial stability of Mother of Life Center.

Our great dream, however, is to effectively serve the challenges of the New Evangelisation: If we are ale to equip our catechists not only with solid doctrinal and pedagogical science, but with a real spiritual and moral formation, what a force this would be for both Church and Society!

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

The scholarship Mother of Life Center offers (thanks to the help of funding agencies like missio) is for poor but deserving and service-motivated lay people.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

Our pastoral ministry is carried out in close collaboration with the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM). As a matter of fact, most of our graduates working in the National Capital Region (NCR) are employed in parochial schools and parishes of the Archdiocese. It is true that we are able to service a good number of dioceses. However, it became increasingly difficult for our formator-supervisors to coordinate the schedule of activities, academic courses, and observation visits.

Under the revised curriculum, we decided that the Supervised Pastoral Program of the Second Year will henceforth operate in direct collaboration only with one catechetical Office: that of the Diocese of Novaliches where Mother of Life Center is situated. Under this new arrangement, we hope to achieve focus in the supervision of our student catechists and the development of catechetical modules and curriculum. Moreover the catechetical needs of the Diocese would also be more adequately met.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

Some of our catechists are sponsored by their local diocese. The Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila’s Staff of researchers and catechists are mostly graduates of Mother of Life Center.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

We have different alumni groups that are regionally based. Moreover, Mother of Life Center is a member of these 2 professional associations:

CEAP: Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines; and

ACCCRE: Association of Catechetical Centers and Colleges/Universities with Religious Education – both of which are under the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP-ECCCE).

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

As Mother of Life Center is one of the educational apostolate of the secular institute Notre-Dame de Vie, we are informally affiliated, through the Theological Faculty of the Studium of Notre-Dame de Vie, to Amicitia Catechetica, an international association of catechetical and theological faculties and universities (founded by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn), which consist of the following institutions: Maryvale Institute (UK), the Franciscan University of Steubenville (USA), and the Studium de Notre-Dame de Vie (France).

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

Nothing formal or institutional organized at this level. The Muslims in the southern great island of the Philippines (Mindanao), unless educated, are very closed group.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

Nothing formal organized at this level of ecumenical cooperation. Sometimes our members attend ecumenical biblical workshops.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

Theological Association: Mostly the member universities of Amicitia Catechetica (see no. 23)

We do have close links with Religious Education institutions in Metro Manila, thanks to our collaboration with the Catechetical Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila (CFAM) (see no. 22: CEAP, ACCCRE).

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

Please help us link up with funding agencies that support infrastructure development, and update us on international congresses on Religious Education and the New Evangelization.

  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.