Institute of Religious Formation
Dedicated to preparing men and women for the ministry of formation since 1971, the Institute of Religious Formation offers a comprehensive, spiritual, collaborative, intellectual, and experiential approach to learning, life, and ministry—all focused within the context of formation. The IRF has continually grown and adapted to the needs of the ever-changing world. It is a residential, nine-month program in which participants live in community and share their experiences with fellow ministers from throughout the world, allowing them to experience the global church in a real way.
By living, worshiping, and studying together, participants are able to model and live what is ideal in communities of formation. Through this process, participants develop the needed skills and tools for formation ministry. More than 1700 women and men have studied at the IRF program since its inception.
IRF uses several methods to prepare you for success in your formation ministry, including talks from knowledgeable professionals and ministers, dialogue, experiential intercultural living, self-reflection practices and formal research on current formation issues. Learning outcomes are listed below.
- Update your current thinking on issues related to Scripture, theology and spirituality.
- Sharpen your interpersonal skills for formation including listening, interviewing, confronting; explore group dynamics.
- Gain new insight into the role of formator as a spiritual guide; broaden skill and practice.
- Hone your understanding of diverse expressions of religious life and the dynamics of intercultural community living and ministry.
Human Development and Growth
- Broaden your knowledge of the psychological issues potentially encountered in formation and learn how to respond.
- Expand your personal awareness and comfort level regarding healthy human sexual integration for yourself and those you’ll support in formation.
- Better understand your role as a formation director in relation to the formation community, community members, superiors, spiritual directors, vocation director and others.
- Renew your personal spirituality and gain a deeper understanding of your congregation’s charism along with a contemporary understanding of the vows and models for theological reflection.
- Explore contemporary issues in religious life today, locally and globally.
- Make a contribution to your congregation/province formation program by evaluating and/or suggesting new components through research on a specific project.
Costs and Application
Who Can Apply
Applications are processed in the order they are received. If you are a non-US citizen or do not hold a “Green Card,” please plan to submit your application as early as possible because of the time required to secure immigration documents and visas. We recommend those who require a student visa to apply by June 15. Residency begins in late August and continues through mid-May with a three-week Christmas vacation from mid-December to early January. IRF participants are required to reside on campus due to the community nature of the program.
When to Apply
Applications are processed in the order they are received. If you are a non-US citizen, please plan to submit your application as early as possible because of the time required to secure documents and visas. Residency begins in late August and continues through mid-May with a three-week Christmas vacation from mid-December to early January. IRF participants are required to reside on campus due to the community nature of the program.
Once you have the application, complete all information and submit with the $55.00 non-refundable application fee. Upon receipt of your application, additional information will be forwarded to you about how to submit your letter of recommendation, along with a request for other supporting documents.
Apply for the Institute for Religious Formation below or download the pdf application here. Once you have completed the application and submitted the $55.00 non-refundable application fee, additional information will be forwarded to you about how to submit your letter of recommendation, along with a request for other supporting documents. Contact Lucianne Sears if you have any questions.
*costs subject to change without notice
- Tuition, room, board and workshop fees total $22,790.00.
- This includes tuition and all program costs plus room & board which includes: a private room, private bath and full meal plan of three meals daily.
- While attending the Institute of Religious Formation, all participants must have health insurance. If a participant does not have health insurance through his or her institute/diocese, she or he may purchase it through the health plan of Catholic Theological Union/University of Chicago.
- Additional personal expenses such as books, spiritual direction, and English language classes.
- All fees are subject to change.
- We are unable to provide scholarships to the Institute of Religious Formation program.