CEFIS – Centro de Filosofia do Instituto Sedes Sapientiae (Centre of Philosophy of Sedes Sapientiae Institute) congregates professionals from diverse areas that understand philosophical thinking as an emergence of historical and cultural reality. Open in 1977, CEFIS is remarkably distinct from regular Philosophy degree courses, offering a philosophical training for professionals engaged in institutions, social movements and the general public, not intending to approach the history of Philosophy in its entirety nor the body of traditional philosophical disciplines. The Centre is not meant for the training of specialists in Philosophy but for the reflection of relevant political, ethical and cultural issues.

CEFIS´ activities were initially linked to the needs of the Psychology courses held by the Sedes Sapientiae Institute. Mother Cristina, founder of the institute, believed that “there is no psychology without philosophical basis. Every psychologist should study philosophy, not to be knowledgeable or cultivated, but to form their own minds, their consciousness.”

CEFIS’ activities may be divided in seven moments:

  1. 1977/1979: The initial work was led by Prof. Benjamin de Souza Netto, followed by Prof. Sister Laura Sampaio and post-graduates from the Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP): Regina Maria de Souza Arantes, Oswaldo Giacóia and Urias Arantes. The Centre sought visibility with the help of renowned lecturers. At that moment, and together with other institutions, the Centre defended the return of philosophy classes to secondary schools, banned by the military dictatorship.
  2. 1980/1984: With the support of international funding agencies – Icco, Union Notre Dame, Cebemo – the Center assisted to groups in the suburbs of São Paulo, together with participants of social movements, in a rich interaction with CEPIS – Centro de Educação Popular do Instituto Sedes (Centre for the Education of the People of Sedes Sapeintiae Institute).
  3. 1985/1989 – Profs. Marcio Silva, Iara Guazzelli and Maria Lucia Cortez Mendonça joined the Centre. Cultural Expansion courses prevailed with a significant influx of pastoral, clerical and religious agents.
  4. 1990/1993: Remarkable participation of professionals coming from the public mental health system (Judiciary Asylum, Juqueri, Secretaries of Health of the cities of São Paulo and Osasco) and the public educational system.
  5. 1994/1996: Considerable increase of requests and interaction with other sectors of Sedes (Psychodrama, Reich, Psychological Clinic, Nraids).
  6. 1997/2009: Activities were concentrated in Cultural Expansion Courses with the participation of Doralina Rodrigues Carvalho, Maria Zeneide Monteiro and Lia Rudge Ramos. A few external activities were maintained, such as consultations in schools and collaboration with professional training, amongst others. Internal activities included the production of texts, small translations and research. End of the international funding.
  7. 2010: A new team emerged, composed by Profs. Márcio Silva, Mauro Araujo de Sousa and Doralina Rodrigues Carvalho. Partnership with Ecoclínica, intensification of cultural expansion activities and the re-launching of the open conferences called “Philosophical Coffees”.

By 2010 CEFIS regained its initial fervor. It now faces a challenge: that of sustaining the critical-philosophical activities freed from the academic framework, accessible to all engaged in Sedes’ ethical-political project, with no financial support from international agencies. From the themes and authors studied in the past years it has extracted the perspective that leads “in becoming” to new experiences and possibilities: to create.