Brief History of the
ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS OF WOMEN IN THE PHILIPPINES  

The Association of Major Religious of Women in the Philippines (AMRSP) was founded on March 31, 1955, i a General Convention attended by his Excellency, Most Reversed Egidio Vagnozzi, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, His Excellency, Most Reversed Luis del Rosario, S.J., Archbishop of Zamboanga, and all major Religious Superiors of Women in the Philippines.

The Original statutes were suggested by the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes with provision that the Association is permanent organization of all active religious communities of women in the Philippines represented by their major religious superior. Religious groups without a major superior in the Philippines are represented by an authorized member of the group.

The purpose of the Association is to coordinate the activities of the aforesaid religious communities, to study problems of common interest, and to assure their more effective solution through close collaboration.
 
The association functions through the following:
1.- The General Convention
2.- The Executive Board
3.- The Technical Committees:
                a) Education Committee
                b) Social Action Committee
                c) Committee for Health Services
                d) Catechetical Committee
                e) Sister Formation Committee
 
For a time, the association confined its goal and activities among its constituents. In the beginning of the 60s. The Association was moved to the fringe of the social question which has become worldwide. The widening differences in the world's levels of life, where the rich enjoy rapid growth and the poor develop slowly, brought about the acute disquiet that has taken hold of the poor. The Major Superiors began as in relation to their relevance to the people's situation. This social awakening moved the AMRSWP to create the Sister Formation Institute (SFI) in 1963 to provide a program of studies that would meet the needs of religious women in the work of evangelization. The Association also tool cognizance of the unanswered needs of the rural folks.

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) was launched as an inter-congregational project in 1969 upon the request of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) through Bishop Labayen, asking the AMRSWP to release some sisters for the rural apostolate.  The RMP functioned as an arm of the Association for its apostolate among the rural poor. These two projects have helped in the unification of training facilities and apostolic activities.

Around 1971, the AMRSWP and the AMRSMP explicated their orientation towards justice and their option toward the poor in a joint statement. Since then, the objective of the Association took on a two-fold dimension: one directed to the constituents, and the other to the service of the poor, but both dimensions seen in the total message of the Gospel. Accordingly, the set-up was modified,harnessing the join efforts of both Association, and the activities were expanded.

The declaration of martial law in 1972 radically changed and affected the lives of the people. They were deprived of their valued civil liberties and human rights.
In 1974, the Major Superiors, after lengthy deliberations, decided to set up new vehicles for conscientization and action on behalf of justice. Task Forces were created to act on issues relating to

  1. Political Detainees (Task Force Detainee of the Philippines-TFDP)
  2. Formation of public opinion through proper information and reporting (Task Force Data Gathering -TFDG)
  3. Conscientization of the poor (Task Force Urban Conscientization-TFUC)
  4. Conscientization of the poor (Task Force for the Orientation of Church Personnel-TFOCP)
  5. Reorientation of Schools (Education Forum-EF)
  6. Services to university students (Campus Ministry-CM)
 
Later, the need for coordination of these activities was felt and the Central Implementing Task Force (CITF) was formed with Sr. Mary Christine Tan, RGS, as chairperson.

In 1976, with the emergence of new ministries focusing on the sectoral groups, the Urban Missionaries was initiated to work particularly with the workers and urban poor.

On December 5,1976, the offices of the AMRSMP and TFDG's "Signs of the Times" located in la Ignaciana building at Pedro Gil Street, Sta. Ana, Manila, were raided by the military and all printing paraphernalia were confiscated. However, the publication of TFDG continued under new names: "Information is Causa", and the "Ichthys" from November 1977 till June 1986 when the said task force was finally phased out during Pres. Cory Aquino’s administration.