August 31, 2022 thru May 18, 2023

Institute of Religious Formation

Empowering formation leaders for a global Church.

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.


The basic content in Scripture, Theology, Spirituality, Religious Life and Human Development will be presented in a bi-modal format in a synchronous and asynchronous manner.  Students will be able to listen to the recorded presentations at convenient times allowing for them to maintain their ministry positions and still take the required lectures which are essential for our program.  Students my also attend in person. In addition, students will be able to have interaction with one another, develop reflection groups and have time for questions and integration of the material presented online.

IRF Learning outcomes are listed below. Information on the 2022-23 program year will be available in late Spring.  Feel free to review the 2021-22 program year synopsis here.


Theological Renewal

  • Update your current thinking on issues related to Scripture, theology and spirituality.

Skill Development

  • 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 encouraged from men or women religious who seek to become a formator in their religious community.  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. Additional information for international students can be download here.


How to Apply
Women or men religious can apply online (below) or download and print an application application by clicking here. Applications are processed in the order they are received. 

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 Sr. Lucianne Siers, OP if you have any questions.

*costs subject to change without notice

2021-2022 IRF Costs

  • • Tuition: $12,600
  • • The IRF is housed at the St John Stone Friary, a walk or short bus ride from the CTU Academic Building. The Friary is a modernized townhouse built for a religious community. Most bedrooms have private baths and there is plenty of common space for socializing, contemplation, and prayer, including a chapel, a formal kitchen, a kitchenette, a large dining room, an entertainment center, and a large living room for gatherings. The cost is $10,800 per academic year.
  • Other additional costs for books and supplies: $1,000

Other Costs:

  • 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 in through the health plan of Catholic Theological Union/University of Chicago.
  • All fees are subject to change.



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If you do not hear from us within one week of submission, please contact Tim Crum at



Sr. Lucianne Siers, OP
Director of the Institute of Religious Formation and Hesburgh Sabbatical Program


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