Loyola School of Theology was inaugurated in 1965 to provide theological formation for the scholastics of the Society of Jesus, the seminarians of San Jose Seminary, and the scholastics of a number of other religious orders. LST is the result of a fusion, first proposed by the Jesuit Provincial Fr. Francis X. Clark, of the faculties of Berchmans College (the former Jesuit Scholasticate) and San Jose Seminary.
San Jose Seminary itself traces its origin to the Colegio de San Jose, founded on 25 August 1601. On 08 August 1621, Pope Gregory XV issued a brief authorizing the Archbishop of Manila to confer degrees, including degrees in theology, on the candidates presented to him by the Rector of the Jesuit College of Manila, in which the students of the Colegio de San Jose attended lectures. After the expulsion of the Society of Jesus from the Philippines in 1768 and the extinction of the Jesuit University of San Ignacio, the Colegio de San Jose continued as a separate institution under the administration of the secular clergy until it was incorporated into the University of Santo Tomas by the Spanish government in 1875 as a school of medicine and pharmacy. By a brief of Pope St. Pius X to the Most Reverend Ambrose Agius, then Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines, dated 03 May 1910, the Colegio de San Jose was restored to the administration of the Society of Jesus for the explicit purpose of the education of priests. Its existence as an interdiocesan seminary for the entire Philippines was recognized again by Decree no. 645 of the First Plenary Council of the Philippines in 1953.
On 12 July 1965, the Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, Fr. Horacio de la Costa, with the authorization of the Jesuit Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe, opened the present School as an institute of philosophy and theology incorporating within it the faculty of ecclesiastical studies of San Jose Seminary. After one academic quarter at San Jose, the School moved to Loyola House of Studies on the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University. First classes at the new site were held on 18 September 1965. For the school year 1967-68, it operated as a federated institute of the University. On 01 January 1968, the Normae Generalis de Studiis, the new statutes for studies in the Jesuit Order, became effective; and on 16 January the Jesuit Provincial constituted the School of Theology and Ecclesiastical Studies as an institute separate and independent in administration and finances from the Jesuit Community of Loyola House of Studies, under its own President, responsible directly to the Provincial. The present name, Loyola School of Theology, was adopted on 28 March 1972.
A first draft of the Statutes of the School was proposed for discussion on 07 December 1971. A new form of the Statutes was completed by February 1977 and approved by the Jesuit Provincial and the Jesuit Superior General for a trial period. A semi-final revision was completed on 14 July 1983. In view of the School’s affiliation with the Theological Faculty of Fujen Catholic University, Taipei, for the purpose of granting ecclesiastical degrees, the Statutes were partially revised again according to the pertinent sections of the Apostolic Constitution of Pope John Paul II, Sapientia Christiana. This revision was completed on 02 August 1984. On 09 October 1985, the Congregation for Catholic Education granted the School affiliation with Fujen Catholic University for a period of five years.
Another revision of the Loyola School of Theology Statutes was completed on 24 February 1988, and on 18 March 1989, the Congregation for Catholic Education constituted and declared the School aggregated to the Jesuit Faculty of Theology at Fujen Catholic University for a period of five years. At the end of three years, a slightly revised edition of the Statutes was sent to the Congregation and was approved conditionally on 07 April 1992 for a period of two years. The Statutes with the suggested changes were forwarded to the Congregation in January 1993 and the Faculty at Fujen gave their approval in February 1993.
After reports on the School in October 1993 by the Dean of the Fujen Faculty of Theology and then by LST itself, the Congregation expressed willingness to move toward definitive approval of the aggregation after a final revision of the Statutes. This requested revision of the Statutes was completed on 25 August 1994 and then submitted, through the Fujen Faculty of Theology, to the Congregation for final approval and definitive aggregation. On 01 December 1994, the Congregation approved the LST Statutes and granted definitive aggregation to the Jesuit Faculty of Theology at Fujen Catholic University for an indeterminate period of time.
In the light of the request for the erection of an Ecclesiastical Faculty at Loyola School of Theology, the Chancellor submitted amendments to the Statutes of the School. These proposed changes are amendments to the Statutes of LST, published in 1995. They were endorsed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in July 1999, and approved by the Congregation for Catholic Education on August 13, 1999. Hence, LST was established as an Ecclesiastical Faculty of Theology and it was authorized to grant in its own right the ecclesiastical degrees of Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology, Licentiate in Sacred Theology and Doctorate in Sacred Theology. (Preface, Statutes of LST 2014, v-vi)
By virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement between Loyola School of Theology and Ateneo de Manila University signed on 25 May 2015, LST, while remaining a federated unit in the University as it had been since 1968, was established as the new Theology and Ministry Program of the School of Humanities.