India is a land of sages and saints. She is the cradle of many religions and religious traditions. Yet for those who thirst for spiritual enlightenment there was no centre to delve deep into her spiritual heritage. This vacuum was filled when the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (Fransalians-MSFS) envisaged a research centre for Spirituality.
The Indian Institute of Spirituality (IIS), managed by THE MISSIONARIES OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES (MSFS), was founded by Rev. Fr. Antony Kolencherry MSFS. Originally it was called Fransalian Institute of Spirituality which was an extension of MSFS Scholasticate, Vinayalaya, Bangalore. It was blessed and inaugurated by Rev. Fr. Midathada Mariadas, (the then provincial of Visakhapatnam) and Rev. Fr. Agnelo Fernandes (present Superior General of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales and the then Provincial of Maharashtra-Goa Province), on 8th May 1989. The Diploma course was started in 1991. In 1993 the Institute was raised to the status of a research centre in Spiritual Theology. It caters to the needs of Postgraduate programme at Master’s and Doctorate level. The academic programme is conducted in collaboration with and according to the norms of St. Peter’s Pontifical Institute which confers the degrees. The Institute is recognized by Bangalore University as a research Centre in 1999.
IIS makes special effort to study Christian spirituality and live it in the context of the spirituality of Indian religions. Thus it prepares priests, religious and laity for inter-religious dialogue and to meet the challenges of the day for an effective pastoral and spiritual ministry.
Besides these the Institute offers Extension/Certificate Courses.
The Institute manages the prestigious SFS Publications and publishes books on spirituality, theology; it also brings out the widely known International quarterly: The Indian Journal of Spirituality (IJS).
It is heartening and amazing to note that an institute with just 8 students in the year 1991 has made great strides in all spheres of academic and spiritual life and trained so far more than 600 persons for the Church. Now there are altogether 90 students, comprising of Certificate, Diploma, M.Th and Ph.D programmes, in the current academic year, 2006-2007. At present, Indian Institute of Spirituality offers Diploma in Theology and Spirituality, Master’s Degree in Spirituality, Doctorate in Spirituality and various Certificate and Extension courses. The Institute also offers various block courses on relevant themes, such as, the different schools of spiritualities like, the Franciscan, the Ignatian, the Benedictine, the Salesian, the Carmelite and the Dominican. It also offers courses on various other themes like, Inter-religious Dialogue, Ashram Experience, Indian Spirituality, Indian Christian Spirituality, Gandhian Spirituality, Youth Spirituality, Civil Law, Social Awareness, Yoga, Feminist Theology, etc, other than its normal academic programmes. The special feature of our academic updating is the ‘Memorial Lectures’ on relevant themes delivered once a year. These block courses and lectures are open for all – priests, religious and laity – who are not regular students of this institute. Thus IIS caters to the needs of all, enabling them to have an updated understanding of the striking trends in modern theology and spirituality.